Neglect - Alberta Human Services - Government of Alberta


Neglect is failing to provide age appropriate basic care such as food, clothing, shelter, love and affection, medical and dental care, education, and protection from harm. If the parent or guardian cannot or will not provide these things to a child, it is neglect.

While neglect is not always obvious, a pattern of ongoing neglect, or inadequate care, can often be seen. Listed below are some possible signs of neglect.

Physical signs

The child may:

  • have medical or dental problems that will not go away because the parent does not take the child for treatment, such as infected sores, decayed teeth or not having needed glasses
  • be underweight or dehydrated
  • have poor hygiene
  • be emaciated or have a distended stomach
  • have clothes that are torn, dirty, do not fit or are not appropriate for the season

Behavioural signs

The child may:

  • demand constant attention
  • have parents who are not interested and not involved
  • say that their parents are rarely home to look after them, have inadequate supervision, be left alone or in the care of another child who is too young
  • have poor school attendance
  • have an obvious lack of energy
  • frequently say they are hungry, or steal or beg for food

Call 310‑0000 to obtain the telephone number of your local office or call the Child Abuse Hotline: 1‑800‑387‑5437 to report a concern.

Modified: 2012-11-13
PID: 15389