According to the Texas Family Code neglect includes the leaving of a child in a situation where the child would be exposed to a substantial risk of physical or mental harm, without arranging for necessary care for the child, and the demonstration of an intent not to return by a parent, guardian, or managing or possessory conservator of the child;
The following acts or omissions by a person:
(a) placing a child in or failing to remove a child from a situation that a reasonable person would realize requires judgment or actions beyond the child's level of maturity, physical condition, or mental abilities and that results in bodily injury or a substantial risk of immediate harm to the child;
(b) failing to seek, obtain, or follow through with medical care for a child, with the failure resulting in or presenting a substantial risk of death, disfigurement, or bodily injury or with the failure resulting in an observable and material impairment to the growth, development, or functioning of the child;
(c) the failure to provide a child with food, clothing, or shelter necessary to sustain the life or health of the child, excluding failure caused primarily by financial inability unless relief services had been offered and refused;
(d) placing a child in or failing to remove the child from a situation in which the child would be exposed to a substantial risk of sexual conduct harmful to the child; or placing a child in or failing to remove the child from a situation in which the child would be exposed to acts or the failure by the person responsible for a child's care, custody, or welfare to permit the child to return to the child's home without arranging for the necessary care for the child after the child has been absent from the home for any reason, including having been in residential placement or having run away; and does not include the refusal by a person responsible for a child's care, custody, or welfare to permit the child to remain in or return to the child's home resulting in the placement of the child in the conservatorship of the department if:
(i) the child has a severe emotional disturbance;
(ii) the person's refusal is based solely on the person's inability to obtain mental health services necessary to protect the safety and well-being of the child; and
(iii) the person has exhausted all reasonable means available to the person to obtain the mental health services.
Neglect can be defined as ‘any serious act or omission by a person having the care of a child that constitutes a failure to provide conditions that are essential for the healthy physical and emotional development of a child’. Notifications of neglect constitute a significant proportion of referrals to child protection services. Neglect refers to circumstances in which a parent or caregiver fails to adequately provide for a child's needs: e.g. provision of food, shelter and clothing, access to medical care when necessary, providing love, care and support, adequate supervision, appropriate legal and moral guidance, regular school attendance. There are several categories of neglect: supervisory neglect, emotional neglect, physical neglect, medical neglect, educational neglect and abandonment
Signs in childhood (these signs are similar to those for emotional abuse) are dependent on the age of the child. Babies and young children may not seem to have a close relationship to their parent or caregiver, may be overly anxious and lack confidence, may be aggressive or overly affectionate to strangers and people they don’t know well. Older children may speak or act inappropriately for their age, be socially isolated, including isolated from their parents, have few social skills, and struggle to control their intense emotions or outbursts.