How can you spot child neglect?

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STARKVILLE, Miss. (WCBI) – A couple in Lowndes County was accused of child neglect. The man is still behind bars. The mother has been released on bond, but the children are no longer in the home.

Not having enough food, wearing dirty clothes, even not going to school. Just a few signs, child protective services look for in cases of suspected neglect.

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Most parents can’t imagine neglecting their child’s basic needs.

Youth Court Judge Lydia Quarles said it happens more often then you might think.

“I cannot tell you the situations that these child protective services people see because they take pictures and they bring ’em back to court and you would not, it is very hard for me to believe,” said Quarles.

“We get some, not a lot, thank goodness. It breaks your heart to see a child abused or mistreated or anything like that. I’m a softy when it comes to kids. We go to every call, we check every welfare concern that we get a call for to make sure that everything’s okay,” said Sheriff Steve Gladney.

Those calls make a difference.

Child Protective Services and law enforcement often rely on the community to spot child neglect cases.

“They know more about what’s going on in their neighborhood, out somewhere, then maybe we would know. You’ve got a lot of young mothers and parents that work, and sometimes, unfortunately, they leave kids at home by themselves unattended which is not safe, and we need to know that,” said Steve Gladney.

From not going to school to not having food, or even clothes, at home, there are many levels of neglect.

“If you’re not seeing that they’re in school, that could be educational neglect. That’s probably the least neglectful thing is you don’t get your child to school. If you don’t have suitable clothes if you don’t have beds for your children if you don’t have food in the house if it’s a filthy environment,” said Quarles.

When CPS gets called, they go to investigate and develop a plan of action…

“The first thing they do is to determine what is the threat to the child And fix that. CPS can work with families informally, and if that doesn’t work, then they can bring them to court,” said Quarles.

Quarles said when you make a call to the CPS Hotline you can stay anonymous.

She encouraged anyone with suspicions of neglect or abuse to call 1-800-222-8000.

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