What are a child’s basic needs?
There are several needs which affect a child’s development and that need to be attended to by their parent or caregiver.
When these needs are not met, it can have lifelong physical, cognitive and emotional impacts.
Physical – shelter, food, clothing, hygiene, sleep
Affection – cuddles, kisses, holding, tenderness, patience
Security – consistent care, appropriate boundaries
Guidance – teaching life skills, instilling values
Independence – balancing protection and exploring
Responsibility – appropriate chores, involved in decisions
Stimulation – encouragement, praise, play
Approval – understanding and acceptance
The signs of neglect
It may indicate neglect if a child shows any of these signs:
Is frequently absent from school
Inadequate, worn out or dirty clothing
Living in unhygienic or unsafe conditions
May steal or beg for food, clothing, money
Extremely dirty, unwashed or have body odour
Frequently hungry, without food or malnourished
Is home alone for long periods without supervision
Untreated injuries, illness or physical conditions
Parent or carer is abusing alcohol or other substances
Parent or carer may appear indifferent toward to the child
Who else can help?
If you have a reason to suspect a child is experiencing harm, or is at risk of experiencing harm, contact an authority in your State and talk to them about your concerns.
We're here to help
Support is available
Encourage the child to contact Kids Helpline if they need some extra support to cope with what's happening.
If you would like to talk through your concerns with a counsellor, try calling Parentline in your state or territory for support.
For some guidance on responding to disclosures of child abuse, see our article on Responding to child abuse.
Talking helps! We’re here for your kids.
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