Child neglect is defined as a type of maltreatment related to the failure to provide needed, age-appropriate care. Unlike physical and sexual abuse, neglect is usually typified by an ongoing pattern of inadequate care and is readily observed by individuals in close contact with the child. Once children are in school, personnel often notice indicators of child neglect such as poor hygiene, poor weight gain, inadequate medical care, or frequent absences from school. Professionals have defined four types of neglect: physical, emotional, educational, and medical.
More children suffer from neglect in the United States than from physical and sexual abuse combined. During 2005, 62.8 percent of victims experienced neglect, 16.6 percent were physically abused, 9.3 percent were sexually abused, 7.1 percent were emotionally or psychologically maltreated, and 2.0 percent were medically neglected. In addition, 14.3 percent of victims experienced such "other" types of maltreatment as abandonment, threats of harm to the child, and congenital drug addiction. States may code any maltreatment type that does not fall into one of the main categories—physical abuse, neglect, medical neglect, sexual abuse, and psychological or emotional maltreatment—as "other."