What may lead to a child’s basic needs not being met?
2 minute read
There are different situations which may lead to a child’s basic needs not being met. And not every case will amount to neglect.
Examples of situations a child and family may be facing include:
- A parent or carer lacking understanding, or information, about how to care for their child
- Wider challenges affecting a parent or carer’s ability to meet their child’s needs. This could be the effects of poverty, deprivation or poor housing.
- A change in circumstance causes financial problems and food and clothing is not always provided for the child. For example job loss, benefit delays or sanctions, a relationship breakdown
- A crisis leads to a parent or carer not being able to meet their child’s needs in the way they usually do
- A parent or carer is experiencing abuse themselves or suffering ill-health which affects their ability to meet their child’s needs
- Neglect experienced as one of the consequences of a parent or carer struggling with a drug or alcohol dependency.
Some children’s basic needs are not met repeatedly, and over time, to the point that their health and development is seriously affected. It is where this happens that it may be described as neglect.
Where there are concerns that a child may be neglected, it is important that children’s services work with the child and family to:
- Understand why the child’s basic needs are not always being met
- Identify any help and support needed to make sure the child’s health and development improves
- Plan how the child’s needs can be met and continue to be met into the future
- Help the parents or carers to understand what steps they need to take and why they need to take them. Families should be supported to understand the timescales for doing the things asked of them
- How children’s services will assess if things are improving for the child.