Following the 6th Conference of the International Society for Child Indicators (Montreal, 2017), this Special Issue was compiled to advance an interdisciplinary understanding of the complexity of conceptualizations, determinants, consequences, and measurement of child neglect around the world and to highlight the need for reforms in child protection systems. The most common type of child maltreatment with long term damaging consequences for children, families, and societies child neglect continues to receive limited scientific and public attention, particularly in resource low settings and in the field of child indicators. Lack of clarity in definition and measures, weak multi-sectoral coordination, and unclear accountability lines, are among the factors that contribute to the insufficient attention to neglect in research and action. Adopting an eco-systemic perspective of child neglect allows us to incorporate the perspectives of families and to question the role and responsibility of the State and the broader conditions within which parents operate. Sound statistical and qualitative indicators of child wellbeing in cases of neglect are urgently needed across geographic areas and over time. Combining child-centredness and attention to socio-economic, cultural, and political context issues will be important in advancing the field.
This paper introduces the special issue of the Child Indicators Research journal focused on child neglect.