A question of omission of care or social reciprocity? Low-income families’ perception of child neglect in Ghana


  • Esmeranda Manful Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Department of Sociology and Social Work, Asscociate Professor https://orcid.org/0000-0002-6346-289X
  • Inusah Karim Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Department of Sociology and Social Work, Mphil Social Work Student https://orcid.org/0000-0003-3831-5553




Child neglect, Child welfare, Ghana, Parenting, Poverty


Child neglect is the most contested type of child maltreatment as its definition and measurement are more subjective, however, the less researched area of concern is the basis of its construction. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to explore what low-income families deem as child neglect to inform more acceptable interventions for both Social Workers and families to ensure better outcomes for children. This paper presents the findings of a pilot study in Assin Assempanaye, a low-income community in the Central Region of Ghana. Adopting an interpretative phenomenological analysis approach with an in-depth interview guide, 18 parents from different households’ views were explored using thematic analysis. The findings of the study revealed that age and expected social behaviour were the basis for neglect. Where omission of care for a child below 10 years was deemed as parental failure, for those, 10-17 years, the incidence of neglect was linked to the child’s failure to conform to the reciprocal social relationship between a parent and a child. It is suggested that Social Workers have to address adolescent neglect differently in programme interventions by also focusing on social role expectations.


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How to Cite

Manful, E., & Karim, . I. (2023). A question of omission of care or social reciprocity? Low-income families’ perception of child neglect in Ghana . Social Work and Social Sciences Review, 24(1), 71-95. https://doi.org/10.1921/swssr.v24i1.1976

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