Checklist of Possible Indicators of Abuse and Neglect

Neglect: Combined Physical and Behavioral Indicators
The following indicators can be observed by community members as well as day care,
school, and law enforcement mandated reporters:
 Child is not
getting enough food
  • Child appears malnourished
  • Child begging, stealing food
  • Consistently acts hungry or complains of hunger
  • Constant fatigue, listlessness, falling asleep in class
 Child appears
poorly cared for
  • Has poor hygiene (skin, teeth, ears, hair)
  • Is inappropriately dressed for the season
  • Clothes are frequently dirty or torn
 Lack of medical/
dental care
  • Unattended physical problems or medical/dental needs
 Lack of adult
  • Child being left home alone without supervision, especially in dangerous activities or for long periods of time
  • Child states there is no caretaker
  • Extended stays at school; child arrives early and stays late
 Child using
  • Child is consistently using alcohol and/or drugs
 Truancy from school
  • Chronic pattern of child from 6 –16 years of age who is absent from school so often that the child will not pass the current grade
Runaway behavior
  • Child runs away from home
  • Child left without knowing where parent is or when parent will return
The following indicators are conditions which must be diagnosed by health care providers and/or social services/mental health professionals who are mandated reporters:
 Child is showing
a delay in normal
  • Failure to thrive – physically or emotionally
  • Measurable lag in physical growth
  • Measurable lag in mental/emotional development
 Positive toxicology
(drug level)
  • Especially in newborns
  • Drug withdrawal symptoms, tremors, etc. in older children/teens
  • Compliant/passive, overly adaptive behavior
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Overly adult or infantile for age
  • Delinquency (e.g. child is stealing)
 Habit disorders
  • Child sucking, biting, rocking, etc.
 Speech disorders
  • Failure to develop speech, abnormal speech patterns
 Conduct disorders
  • Antisocial and/or destructive behaviors
  • Torturing or killing small animals
 Neurotic traits
  • Includes sleep disorders, inhibition of play
  • Threatened or attempted suicide
  • Includes hysteria, obsession, phobias, and compulsive behavior