Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services (Banner Imagery) - Go to home page

Child Abuse Prevention Month

Recognizing the signs of neglect

By Patricia Boler

As professionals committed to the service and protection of Kentucky citizens, it is our job to report any suspected abuse. 

You can report suspected child abuse by calling the child abuse prevention hot line at (800) 752-6200.

Last week we learned what to look for if you suspect sexual abuse.  Below are ways to recognize the signs of neglect. 

Signs of Neglect

Consider the possibility of neglect when the child:

  • Is frequently absent from school. 
  • Begs or steals food or money. 
  • Lacks needed medical or dental care, immunizations, or glasses. 
  • Is consistently dirty and has severe body odor. 
  • Lacks sufficient clothing for the weather. 
  • Abuses alcohol or other drugs. 
  • States that there is no one at home to provide care.

Consider the possibility of neglect when the parent or other adult caregiver:

  • Appears to be indifferent to the child. 
  • Seems apathetic or depressed. 
  • Behaves irrationally or in a bizarre manner. 
  • Is abusing alcohol or other drugs.


Last Updated 4/15/2005