Neglect matters: a multi-agency guide for professionals working together on behalf of teenagers

Guide providing information and signposts to good practice for those working in the area of adolescent neglect.


The neglect of adolescents involves many aspects of their lives, for example:

  • what happens within their families, particularly as they become young adults
  • their health and wellbeing
  • their education

This means that working with young people who have been neglected inevitably involves more than 1 agency and the expertise of their staff. There is a need for both agencies and practitioners to work together.

This guide looks to provide information and signposts to good practice for those working in the area of adolescent neglect. Its central concern is to contribute towards a better understanding of what adolescent neglect is and to offer suggestions for ways of improving multi-agency practice in this area; but it is not a substitute for multi-agency training, although it may contribute towards it.

The guide is part of a wider research project funded by the Department of Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) and the Department of Health (DH) under the Safeguarding Children Research Initiative. The research was carried out as a partnership between the University of York, the Children’s Society and the NSPCC.

In addressing these questions, the guide draws on material gathered during the course of the research overall. The process has involved a wide range of contributors, including young people, professionals from different agencies who work with young people, researchers and policy makers.


  • adolescent neglect in context
  • what is adolescent neglect?
  • what are the causes and consequences of adolescent neglect?
  • whose business is adolescent neglect?
  • what can I do about adolescent neglect?
  • adding up adolescent neglect: what practitioners need to know and do
  • links to further information and follow-up references
  • appendices