Working effectively with neglect – 2 days


This two day programme is designed for practitioners who work with children and families and may be expected to:

  • Lead or contribute to assessments;
  • Work together with other professionals to provide help to children and families where neglect is present.


The two day programme supports the six key messages identified within the neglect framework Childhood Neglect: Improving Outcomes for Children. (DFE 2012). These are:

  • Every practitioner who has contact with children has the potential to recognise the signs of neglect.
  • Thorough assessment and planning should incorporate attention to cumulative harm and patterns of care.
  • Authoritative and effective intervention is required, with consideration of outcomes and of alternative care for the child if required.
  • Children’s health and development in all dimensions can be seriously compromised by the experience of neglect.
  • Parents and children needs support with the family, environmental and structural factors that affect parenting capacity.
  • Practitioners need to be aware of the dangers of drift and the ‘start-again’ syndrome.

in addition

  • Neglect is a multi-agency task and effective recognition, assessment and intervention is only possible where there is a well functioning multi-agency network.
  • Work to address neglect must be underpinned by evidence based practice and an anti-discriminatory and anti-oppressive framework.

The course draws on national research, In-Trac’s experience of serious case reviews and our work with organisations to develop assessment and intervention methods that get to the heart of the complex issues surrounding neglect.

Learning Outcomes:

Participants will be given the opportunity to:

  • Define neglect and use the definition of neglect set out in national guidance to inform effective practice.
  • Consider the emotional impact of working with families where neglect is a key issue, including the need to address feelings of helplessness, over optimism.
  • Consider the impact of attitudes and values on recognition and effective work with children and families.
  • Understand the possibility of the adults needs dominating and the importance of being child and young person focused at all times from recognition to assessment and intervention.
  • Understand and work effectively with the particular needs of disabled children and those from black and minority ethnic groups.
  • Understand the impact of neglect on the developing child or young person in the short medium or long term.
  • Consider the potential causes or drivers of neglect with a focus on domestic abuse, parental learning disability, problematic parental substance misuse and poor parental mental ill health.
  • Consider the link between neglect and other forms of abuse such as emotional abuse, physical abuse, sexual abuse and sexual exploitation.
  • Gain an understanding of the importance of using tools, including chronologies, to gain an understanding parenting capacity and the family and environmental factors which may contribute to neglect.
  • Consider how an understanding of attachment, resilience and parental motivation to change can improve analysis of the needs of children where there are concerns about neglect.
  • Understand what research tells us about the best way of helping families where neglect is present.
  • Understand how to analyse the interrelationship between the child’s needs, parenting capacity and family and environmental factors in order to ensure the child and family receive the right help and the right time.
  • Understand how to work effectively with other organisations to assess needs, identify risks and develop effective plans including clarity regarding whether or not legal intervention is required.