Fears over child neglect during school holidays

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Almost one in four parents believes children are more likely to be neglected in the summer holidays than term time, according to a new survey.

The YouGov poll of more than 2,000 parents for charity Action for Children, found that 14 per cent of parents are feeding other people’s children, and 9 per cent having them to stay in the holidays, for fear that they are not being fed or looked after properly at home.

Parents in London most commonly said they have other children to stay, and parents living in the North of the country have been more likely to provide food to another child during the school holidays.

The poll also revealed that one in ten parents have taken another child on a family trip or outing in the school holidays.

According to Action for Children, it is estimated up to ten per cent of children in Britain are neglected and fail to receive the right care and attention, including provided with enough food, clean clothes, safety, warmth and love.

The charity warns that the long summer holidays could lead to an increase in problems faced by neglected children, as they lose the routine, structure and regular meals provided by schools in term-time.

Dame Clare Tickell, chief executive of Action for Children,said, ‘No child should ever feel lonely, hungry or worthless, but once the school gates have closed for the summer holidays that is exactly how many of the 1.5 million neglected children in Britain are left feeling. 

‘The government must help to tackle neglect within families, and give councils a clear signal not to cut play schemes and activities for children in the summer holidays - they may look like easy cuts to make but they are vital for our most vulnerable children, and their families.’

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