Child neglect is a form of child maltreatment. Child neglect implies the failure in meeting some child’s needs. For instance, a child is neglected when he or she is not provided with such vital things as nutrition and food, physical and mental health care, clothing and hygiene, supervision, and educational care. Child neglect can lead to serious and fatal consequences. There are two different forms of neglect: physical and emotional.
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More girls suffer from neglect than boys. Younger children are neglected the most. According to Welch and Bonner (2013), “in the fiscal year 2010, an estimated 695,000 unique children were identified as being abused and/or neglected in the United States, translating to 9.2 children per 1,000” (p. 745). This paper is aimed at providing a rating for a child and his family using the case of Aaron.
Aaron is a seven-year-old white boy. Aaron is from a full family. He lives with his mom and dad in Orlando, Florida. Aaron goes to a local elementary school. It is worth mentioning that Aaron is a relatively new student in the school. His family moved from another neighborhood because once Aaron saw how a boy was shot in the face after school. Aaron was very shocked by this event, and he paid a lot of attention to it.
He started constantly speaking about violence and guns. Moreover, he was interested in violent movies. From this information, it is clear that a supervision rating for Aaron is 50. According to Crosson-Tower (2013), when the supervision rating is 50, it means that a child often experience different situations that could cause some harm. When the supervision rating is 50, it is considered to be inadequate.
It cannot be said that Aaron is diligent at school, gets good marks and does well at exams. On the contrary, he has some problems at school. It can be concluded that Aaron’s developmental and educational needs are not met. According to Crosson-Tower (2013), a child has educational or developmental problems, and special services or necessary treatment are not provided. All in all, Aaron’s rating level of developmental and educational care is 50, and there are specific reasons for that.
For example, Aaron is not able to fulfill tasks independently. He often does not even try to complete his papers. When his teacher tries to talk to him about it, Aaron insists that he just cannot do his homework or other school tasks because he is too stupid for it.
Aaron’s level of physical care is inadequate too. Firstly, it is important to emphasize that Aaron’s nutrition/food rating is 50. Crosson-Tower (2013) states that rating 50 signifies that the necessary amount of food is not provided, and there is a risk of malnutrition. It is confirmed by the facts that Aaron steals food from his teachers. He has already been caught three times trying to steal snacks from the teacher’s desk, purse, and cupboards.
When the teacher decided to call to Aaron’s parents to tell what had happened, she did not get any answer. Her messages were also ignored. What is more, when the Child Protective Investigator received a call from the school, he went to Aaron’s home. The Child Protective saw the refrigerator was almost empty. There were only old condiments. Aaron’s parents say that they have financial problems so they cannot afford to eat well. Apart from this, there are no toys or books for Aaron at home, and Aaron does not even have a bed. He sleeps in a sleeping bag on the floor.
As well as nutrition/food rating, clothing and hygiene rating is quite high too. According to Crosson-Tower (2013), Aaron’s clothing and hygiene rating is 40, which means that dirty clothing affects child’s functioning. School teachers notice that Aaron often is not appropriately dressed for the weather. For example, when the temperature outside is quite low (60-65 degrees in Fahrenheit scale), Aaron could wear shorts and a t-shirt. Furthermore, Aaron wears old dirty clothes. Once he was wearing the same dirty t-shirt for two weeks. Furthermore, Aaron and his parents live in a small apartment that is very messy.
Next, it is necessary to assess the provision of health care. Health care can be divided into two groups: physical and mental health care. To provide physical health care rating, it is necessary to describe one situation. One day Aaron came to school with bruises on his upper arms. It seemed that these bruises were left by someone’s hand because they looked like finger marks. A school nurse and Aaron’s teacher noticed these bruises.
When they asked Aaron how he had got these marks, he answered that he did not know. The nurse decided to call the hotline to express concern about Aaron. From this example, it can be seen that medical care is not provided, and the level of physical health care rating is 40.
Mental health care is much worse. Aaron has behavior problems at school. Sometimes he can be very aggressive, and sometimes he is weak. For instance, once the teacher found Aaron crying and sucking his thumb in the school bathroom. What is more, Aaron is always very scared of any noise or person who approaches him. He avoids eye contact when interacting with any adult. He flinches when anyone tries to touch him. Aaron does not seem to know how to communicate with people. He tends to take away some objects and toys from others without asking. The level of mental health rating is considered to be 50.
Crosson-Tower (2013) describes this rating and emphasizes that a child is experiencing emotional distress, and necessary services and treatment are not provided. Aaron’s parents insist that his son does not need mental health care.
Finally, it is necessary to calculate a final neglect score for Aaron. According to the Ontario Neglect Index method, Aaron’s final neglect score is 75. Trocme (1996) underlines that “giving this scale and scoring the model, panelists suggested that the cutoff point for substantial neglect be 50 (recognizing that in practice an absolute cutoff point has limited clinical significance)” (p. 148). It can be concluded that a final neglect score for Aaron is too high, and it can lead to serious problems.
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To sum up, child neglect is a type of maltreatment that refers to the failure in meeting such child’s needs as nutrition and food, physical and mental health care, clothing and hygiene, supervision, and educational care. There are more than nine neglected children per 1000 in the United States of America. The Child Neglect Index that was calculated for Aaron shows that the boy has been neglected, and some actions are to be taken to prevent fatal consequences.
Crosson-Tower, C. (2013). Understanding child abuse and neglect (9th ed.). New York, NY: Pearson Publishing.
Trocme, N. (1996). Development and preliminary evaluation of the Ontario Child Neglect Index. Child Maltreatment, 1(2),145-155.
Welch, G. L., & Bonner, B. L. (2013). Fatal child neglect: Characteristics, causation, and strategies for prevention. Child Abuse & Neglect, 37(10), 745-752.