What is Neglect
What is Neglect?
- Neglect is the failure to meet a child’s basic needs for food, clothing, shelter, sleep, medical attention, education, and protection from harm. This can occur when parents don’t know about appropriate care for children, or when they’re not able to plan ahead.
- A young child should never be left unattended.
In Ontario, the law regarding leaving a child unattended or home alone is purposefully vague. It is the parent’s responsibility to judge the maturity and responsibility level of their child/ children. Parents should consider a number of factors when deciding if it is safe to leave their child alone.
When parents decide that their children are mature and responsible enough to be left unsupervised, that judgment should be accompanied by a safety plan, so that children know how to respond to different scenarios when home alone. Children should know how to dial 911, and what to do in case of a fire. Other rules should be in place in case someone phones, or comes to the door. Children shouldn’t answer the door, and if someone calls, it’s wise to say that their mom or dad is in the shower. These are simple tactics to teach children, but may prove very useful. If someone can’t be in the house with children when parents are not home, neighbours can help by keeping an eye on the house, and parents should always leave a phone number where they can be contacted, in case of an emergency.