Child Protection from Neglect: A New Haven Perspective A Case Study of Saudi Arabia and the U.S.

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Child neglect is a serious crime that involves the failure of caregivers or parents to provide adequate care, supervision, and support to children under their responsibility. Child neglect encompasses various forms, including physical neglect, emotional neglect, medical neglect, and educational neglect. Factors contributing to child neglect can range from parental substance abuse and mental health issues to poverty, lack of social support, and inadequate parenting skills. The consequences of child neglect can be severe and long-lasting, impacting a child's physical, emotional, and cognitive development, as well as their overall well- being. To combat child neglect, it is essential to have effective preventive measures in place. These measures include early identification and intervention through improved community support systems, parental education programs, access to mental health services, and targeted interventions for families at risk. Additionally, robust legal frameworks and strict enforcement of child protection laws play a crucial role in deterring and addressing cases of child neglect. By addressing the root causes of child neglect and implementing comprehensive strategies, society can work towards creating safer environments for children, ensuring their rights are protected, and promoting their healthy development. A multidisciplinary approach involving law enforcement, social services, healthcare professionals, educators, and community members is necessary to combat child neglect effectively. Ultimately, the prevention of child neglect is crucial in fostering a society where every child has the opportunity to thrive in a nurturing and supportive environment. Given that the country’s legal system is based on Sharia principles—a legal system based on Islam—different religious schools of thought have bred different opinions pertaining to what extent laws should be allowed to regulate domestic relations. While Saudi law provides a basic framework for protecting children against abuse, the question is whether this framework is compatible with modern, vis-à-vis Western, approaches to child protection that proscribe certain types of neglect. To address this question, the author will first identify the causes and consequences of child neglect in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, providing a graphic and human dimension to this issue by framing the discussion through the lens of several Saudi children who were neglected by their parents or guardians. Subsequently, the specific lacunae in Saudi law—both legal and social/cultural—will be identified and examined. The author’s position is that legal reform is necessary and that it is not incompatible with controlling principles of law. Nevertheless, ensuring compliance from Saudi parents and those tasked with taking care of children will require action by administrative entities, which will, of course, entail considerable resources. However, the potential geopolitical benefits, in light of the Kingdom’s new openness in international relations is, in the author’s opinion, a good indication that Saudi policymakers will be incentivized to implement a comprehensive overhaul of Saudi child protection laws so that new rules are enacted and enforced effectively.
Child Neglect, Florida Law, Saudi Law
Child Neglect