Safeguarding children from neglect

Child neglect is the most common form of child abuse in the UK
– our work gives neglected children a future.


Neglect robs a child of their childhood. When an adult doesn’t support them it means they can be unsafe, unhealthy, unloved and uncared for. It can influence how they build relationships and how they achieve in life. It’s also the most common form of child abuse in the UK[1] affecting up to 1 in 10 children and featuring in 60% of serious case reviews into a child’s death or serious injury[2].

Our latest analysis shows that almost 4 in every 10 children referred to us are at risk of neglect.[3]


Our work changes the lives of these children.

An evidence based approach to tackle neglect


Our joint working approach and evidence based expertise, built from experience and research, is endorsed both in the industry and by academics. We know what works and we see that child neglect can be addressed as the majority of parents can be supported to change their behaviour and improve the lives of their children. We make sure children are safe, secure and supported by building warm, positive relationships, helping them to become healthier, happier adults who may, one day, become parents themselves.

After working with us, 73% of children at risk of neglect now have a warmer, more supportive relationship with their parent or carer (s) and 74% experience an improvement in family life due to improved routines such as regular times for meals and bed.

We implement ‘whole’ family approaches

Neglect is often related to other forms of abuse or a family’s situation (e.g. mental health issues, substance misuse or living with domestic violence). Our staff are particularly skilled at building trusting relationships which enable them to spot difficulties and act. We implement a ‘whole family’ approach with intensive support if appropriate, working with parents to change behaviour and supplying support to secure additional resources or gain the involvement of specialists if needed. See more information about one of our programmes, Family Partners, here.

With our support 75% of those children at risk of neglect now reach their developmental milestones and 71% now live in a clean house and are appropriately clothed.

Robbie, Luke and Kacy

We help children like Robbie, Luke and Kacy.

Robbie, 14, Luke, 13, and Kacy, 12, were leading chaotic lives. They were living on a diet of crisps and snacks, their home was untidy and they lacked basic family routines and boundaries.

Action for Children’s Family Partners worked with their mum, Lucy and as a result the children are healthier, attending school more regularly and have more hope for their future.

Lucy and her family


Supporting young people at risk of entering care or custody

Many young people who enter care as a result of relationship breakdown have a longstanding history of neglect[4]. We work with these young people, and their families, and see impressive results from our work.

Our Multi-Systemic Therapy programme (MST) meant that 90% of young people could continue to live at home, 84% were now attending school regularly and 84% had had no new arrests[5].

Tackling neglect by influencing government policy

We continue to influence government policy on how to tackle child neglect and share our researched and evidenced based approaches with the police and other professionals who share our aims. 

Our campaigning work


Improvement data from Action for Children’s e-Aspire analysis of 19,179 cases which identified 7,463 children at risk of neglect (April 2015 – March 2016).

[1] Radford, L. et al (2011) Child abuse and neglect in the UK today.

[2] Brandon et al (2012) New learning from serious case reviews: a two year report 2009 – 11. London: Department of Education.

[3] Action for Children e-Aspire analysis of 19,179 cases identified 7,463 children at risk of neglect (April 2015 – March 2016).

[4] Hicks, L. Stein, M. (2013) Understanding and working with adolescents neglect: perspectives form research, young people and professionals.

[5] Action for Children’s MST analysis of 172 young people (April – Dec 2015)



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Your support will help us make life better for the UK's most vulnerable children and young people.