Assessment, Prevention, and Treatment
As previously established, childhood neglect often co-occurs with other child maltreatment, thus making it difficult to identify or assess. Moreover, the lack of agreement about what constitutes minimally acceptable standards of childcare, coupled with uncertainty as to the point at which subpar parenting has adverse consequences to child development, contributes to difficulty in assessing for neglectful parenting behavior (Howard & Brooks-Gunn, 2009; McDaniel & Dillenburger, 2007). That is, certain parenting behaviors may not legally be defined as neglect (e.g., leaving a child of a certain age at home without supervision), yet can have damaging effects on the child. Perhaps due, in part, to difficulties in the recognition of childhood neglect, efforts to improve surveillance of subthreshold parenting have been most frequently discussed in the literature by way of primary prevention (e.g., Evans, Garner, & Honig, 2014), such that established programs (e.g., home-visiting programs) aim to provide support to at-risk families prior to any indication of neglect or abuse to the child. It is also important to consider that different subtypes of neglect may require different types of prevention and treatment efforts (Straus & Kantor, 2005).
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