Science shows that child maltreatment and neglect can disrupt healthy development and have lifelong consequences.
Chronic neglect is associated with a wider range of damage than active abuse, but it receives less attention in policy and practice.
In the U.S., neglect accounts for 78% of all child maltreatment cases, far more than physical abuse (17%), sexual abuse (9%), and psychological abuse (8%) combined.
Science tells us that young children who experience significantly limited caregiver responsiveness may sustain a range of adverse physical and mental health consequences that actually produce more widespread developmental impairments than overt physical abuse. These can include cognitive delays, stunting of physical growth, impairments in executive function and self-regulation skills, and disruptions of the body’s stress response. With more than a half million documented cases in the U.S. in 2010 alone, neglect accounts for 78% of all child maltreatment cases nationwide, far more than physical abuse (17%), sexual abuse (9%), and psychological abuse (8%) combined. Despite these compelling findings, child neglect receives far less public attention than either physical abuse or sexual exploitation and a lower proportion of mental health services.