Child Neglect in South Carolina



“The Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA), (P.L. 100–294) defines child abuse and neglect as, at a minimum: Any recent act or failure to act on the part of a parent or caretaker which results in death, serious physical or emotional harm, sexual abuse or exploitation [ ]; or an act or failure to act, which presents an imminent risk of serious harm.1


Of the 3,798,038 children that were a part of a referral to CPS, 17% were found to be victims of maltreatment or neglect in 2020.1 That statistic equates to 8.4 victims per 1,000 children in the United States.1 The most at risk of maltreatment are the youngest children, with more than a quarter (28.1%) of all victims being less than 2 years old. 1


Of the 14,263 victims of maltreatment in South Carolina in 2020, 8,216 were victims of neglect (57.6%).1 Neglect was the leading form of maltreatment for children in South Carolina, followed closely by Physical Abuse at 6,434 (45.1%).1


What is Considered Child Neglect?

According to the Children’s Bureau of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, there are several basic categories of neglect, including:

  • “Educational neglect: Failing to enroll a child in school, allowing a child to repeatedly skip school, or ignoring a child’s special education needs

  • Emotional neglect: Exposing a child to domestic violence or substance use, or not providing affection or emotional support

  • Inadequate supervision: Leaving a child who can’t care for themselves home alone, not protecting a child from safety hazards, or leaving the child with inadequate caregivers

  • Medical neglect: Denying or delaying necessary or recommended medical treatment

  • Physical neglect: Failing to care for a child’s basic needs like hygiene, clothing, nutrition, or shelter, or abandoning a child”2

What are the Risk Factors for Child Neglect?

There are some instances where child neglect is unintentional such as a first-time parent who doesn’t realize how often their child needs to be fed. There are also instances where a parent’s own mental state or substance abuse can lead to the neglect of their child. Listed below are examples of circumstances that have been found to increase a child’s risk of being neglected:


  • “Child factors: Developmental delays

  • Environmental factors: Poverty, lack of social support, or neighborhood distress

  • Family factors: Single-parent households, domestic violence, historically underserved communities, or family stress

  • Parent factors: Unemployment, low income, young maternal age, parenting stress, health issues, mental illness, or substance use” 3

If you believe a child you know may be a victim of neglect or any other form of abuse, notify the police or DSS as soon as you can. You can make a huge impact on the life of a child. Please review our previous blog to see if you may be classified as a mandatory reporter in the state of South Carolina.

If you have reported a concern to the police and you feel as though adequate measures have not been taken to address your claim, please contact our office. We are proud to represent the most vulnerable in our state including children and the elderly.

Hite and Stone, Attorneys at Law help children who have been abused at the hands of a government agency or other child care facilities.

Please contact us if you believe we may be able to help you seek justice for an abused child. We are committed to making South Carolina a better place to live and raise our families.

Serving the Upstate of South Carolina for 40 Years

Offices located in Abbeville, SC and Greenville, SC

864.568.0215


Sources:


  1. U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Administration on Children, Youth and Families, Children’s Bureau. (2022). Child Maltreatment 2020. Available from https://www.acf.hhs.gov/cb/data-research/child-maltreatment.

  2. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Children's Bureau. Acts of omission: An overview of child neglect.

  3. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Children's Bureau. Risk factors that contribute to child abuse and neglect.