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Failure to provide adequate care and supervision for a minor child by a parent or adult caretaker. Neglect may be more traumatic to a child than physical abuse and is a serious problem in the United States and the world. In the case of an infant or toddler, neglect may cause death or severe injury. According to the National Clearinghouse on Child Abuse and Neglect, there are about 15 victims of child maltreatment for every 1,000 children. Of these about half (52%) are neglected. Neglect is most common among young children: about one-third of all neglect is suffered by children under three years old. Females and males are equally likely to be neglected.

The majority of the neglect cases in 1996 (52%) were reported on white children and about 34% of the cases were children who were African-American.

The perpetrators of neglect are more likely to be female: according to the Children's Bureau of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, about 72% of neglect perpetrators were women.

Most perpetrators of neglect (78%) are between the ages of 20 and 39. About 7% are 19 years old or younger and 10% are age 40-49. Individuals over age 50 are responsible for the lowest percentage of neglect: about 4%.

Military Members and Abuse

In looking at members of the Armed Services, of the nearly 17,000 cases of child maltreatment reported, about 42% were neglected and 36% were physically abused. The neglect rate was lower than found in the national population and the physical abuse rate was higher.

"Child Maltreatment 1996: Reports from the States to the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System," U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Children's Bureau, 1998.

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