Families in Crisis: Abuse vs. Neglect

Families in Crisis: Abuse vs. Neglect

Children are removed from their homes and placed into foster care because families are going through a crisis, resulting in an unsafe home, abuse or neglect. Abuse is the intentional infliction of harm, whether it is physical, emotional, or sexual harm. Neglect is the failure to provide the necessary care for an individual, resulting in that individual's injury or illness.

Physical abuse can include:

  • striking
  • kicking
  • burning
  • biting
  • or any action that results in a physical impairment of a child

Neglect can include:

  • Limitations on space in the home
  • Lack of supervision
  • Abandonment
  • Lack of cleaning supplies
  • Lack of items to assist with storage and/or organization
  • Need for extermination services
  • Lack of weather appropriate clothing
  • Lack of food
  • Lack of transportation to get to and from medical appointments or school
  • Lack of medical care
  • Limitations on options and supports for childcare
  • A combination of things resulting in the parent(s)/caregiver(s) being overwhelmed and not knowing where to start

While physical abuse can be the reason a child is in foster care, neglect is the most common reason.

According to Ashley Johnson, our director of family preservation services, the first step is taking time to get to know a family and then completing both formal and informal assessments to help determine the best way to work with a family and what their needs may be.

“We know that each family is unique and will have their own unique solutions. We help families explore additional supports and community resources available to them, learn and successfully utilize new coping strategies, work towards creating organization and structure in the home and what maintenance will look like and improve communication within the home.”

Our home-based prevention and intervention services work with families who are facing a wide variety of challenges, such as poverty, substance abuse, mental health issues and more. As many of our home-based services are relatively short-term, team members also work to help families get connected with other providers within their own community who may be able to help support them long after our services have ended.

Learn more about family services programs in Kansas and Missouri.