Topic: Interventions for Neglect

Scientific Ratings in this topic:

1 - Well-Supported by Research Evidence

2 - Supported by Research Evidence

3 - Promising Research Evidence

4 - Evidence Fails to Demonstrate Effect

5 - Concerning Practice

NR - Not able to be Rated

Learn more about the scale

Definition for Interventions for Neglect:

Interventions for Neglect are defined by the CEBC as programs that address a parent's failure to provide for a child's basic needs. Neglect may be physical (e.g., failure to provide necessary food or shelter, or lack of appropriate supervision); medical (e.g., failure to provide necessary medical or mental health treatment); educational (e.g., failure to educate a child or attend to special education needs); and/or emotional (e.g., inattention to a child's emotional needs, failure to provide psychological care, or permitting the child to use alcohol or other drugs).

These situations do not always mean a child is neglected. Sometimes cultural values, the standards of care in the community, and poverty may be contributing factors, indicating the family is in need of information or assistance. When a family fails to use information and resources, and the child's health or safety is at risk, then child welfare intervention may be required. The following link gives more information on this topic area as it is defined by the U.S. government:

  • Target population: Families with children whose basic needs are not being met
  • Services/types that fit: Typically outpatient services, with individual, group, or family formats; services may be delivered in the home. Services may include assessment, case planning, case management, education, and/or skill building
  • Delivered by: Child welfare staff, mental health professionals, or trained paraprofessionals
  • In order to be included: Program must specifically target child neglect as a goal
  • In order to be rated: There must be research evidence (as specified by the Scientific Rating Scale) that examines neglect-related outcomes, such as reductions in out-of-home placement or recurrence of neglect or maltreatment, or outcomes for children and/or parents, such changes in behavior, symptom levels, and/or functioning.
Downloadable Topic Area Summary

Programs in this Topic Area

The programs listed below have been reviewed by the CEBC and, if appropriate, been rated using the Scientific Rating Scale.

Two Programs with a Scientific Rating of 2 - Supported by Research Evidence:

  • Homebuilders®
    Families with children (birth to 18) at imminent risk of placement into, or needing intensive services to return from, foster care, ...
  • SafeCare®
    [Project SafeCare]
    Parents at-risk for child neglect and/or abuse and parents with a history of child neglect and/or abuse

One Program with a Scientific Rating of 3 - Promising Research Evidence:

One Program with a Scientific Rating of NR - Not able to be Rated:

  • Signs of Safety
    Children and families where there has been suspected or substantiated child abuse or neglect

Why was this topic chosen by the Advisory Committee?

The Interventions for Neglect topic area is relevant to child welfare because, while child neglect is the most common type of child maltreatment, it frequently goes unreported and, historically, has not been acknowledged or publicized as greatly as child abuse. In addition, the effects of neglect can be just as detrimental, and as it relates to children's early brain development, even more detrimental than physical or sexual abuse. Child welfare professionals need help identifying new and effective ways to target and serve at-risk families so that they can minimize the risk that could lead to child neglect; equip families with the skills and resources they need to ensure that children's basic needs are met; and decrease the effects of neglect on the developing child.

Information on successful interventions, and how these interventions can be replicated in other jurisdictions, will provide important new tools for combating the serious problem of child neglect in this country.

Pamela Day
Former CEBC Advisory Committee Member

Topic Expert

The Interventions for Neglect topic area was added in 2008. Mark Chaffin, PhD was the topic expert and was involved in identifying and rating any of the programs with an original load date in 2008 (as found on the bottom of the program's page on the CEBC) or others loaded earlier and added to this topic area when it launched. The topic area has grown over the years and any programs added since 2008 were identified by CEBC staff, the Scientific Panel, and/or the Advisory Committee. For these programs, Dr. Chaffin was not involved in identifying or rating them.