Child neglect and behavioural parent education
Research and practice
By Benny McDaniel and Karola Dillenburger

To see sections of this book in a PDF, please click here.

Child neglect poses physical and emotional risks and can cause complicated attachments and cognitive delay. Ultimately, prolonged child neglect can lead to long-term mental health problems and relationship difficulties in adult life.

Although it is much more common than other forms of child maltreatment, such as physical or sexual abuse, child neglect has received much less public attention. At a time when evidence-based practice is demanded in all areas of education, health and social care, there is surprisingly little empirical evidence on interventions that specifically address the management and prevention of child neglect.

Addressing this gap, this book explains how behaviour-analytic parent education can be used to develop individualised programmes to help parents - particularly those who are vulnerable due to having grown up in State care, having intellectual disabilities, or being young first-time parents - to care for their babies or young children.

The book outlines the well-established knowledge base and methods of behaviour-analytic interventions and guides workers on how to develop individualized programmes that can be evaluated by practitioners, using single-system research designs.

The authors show how to link the programmes with various commonly used parent education techniques in ways that:
  • offer a transparent and accountable way of working
  • are culturally-sensitive and promote service user involvement
  • allow expectations of parents to be clearly outlined and progress to be evidenced
  • reinforce parents' strengths rather than focusing on deficits
  • help create positive collaborative relationships
  • allow working methods to be adapted quickly to ensure that they are effective in achieving the agreed goals
  • enable and empower workers and parents in any context.

  • The non-prescriptive approach and its emphasis on adaptability mean this book can be used in study and practice anywhere.

    Dr Benny McDaniel spent many years managing a residential family assessment unit for Barnardo's in Northern Ireland and educated many family and child care teams throughout the UK, using methods described in this book.

    Professor Karola Dillenburger is an internationally respected educator and researcher and has used methods described here to educate parents in international contexts, including Europe, Australia and India.

    They share over 40 years of combined research and practice experience in this book, in theoretical as well as practical explanations. Their individual data collection instruments and assessment checklists are included in the useful and adaptable Practice Tools that are also provided in the book and can be obtained in PDF and Word formats from links provided.

    Child care social workers, parent educators, and other professionals committed to safeguarding children from neglect will find here help for their work with all parents. Academics and policy-makers will see how a behaviour-analytic knowledge base can inform both practice and research.

    Large format. 136 pages. 978-1-905541-91-1. Published 2013. £19.95.


    Child care social workers, parent educators, and other professionals seeking to safeguard children from neglect by helping all parents, including those with intellectual disabilities and those who are vulnerable.

    Students, researchers, lecturers, policy makers, and the libraries which serve them; especially those committed to evidence-based practice and interested in how a behaviour-analytic knowledge base can inform both practice and research.


    Benny McDaniel
    is Quality Specialist, working in Colin Early Intervention Community in Belfast, where she is responsible for supporting the implementation and quality assurance of a range of evidence-based early intervention programmes for children and families. She is a qualified social worker with more than 25 years' practice and management experience, and previously worked in Barnardo's, managing a residential family assessment unit where the material for this book was developed. Since the completion of her PhD in 2003, Benny has worked on service design and evaluation across a range of family and child care services. She has published a number of academic peer-reviewed papers and has presented her work at numerous local and international conferences.

    Karola Dillenburger is Professor of Behaviour Analysis and Education, and Director of the Centre for Behaviour Analysis, at the School of Education at Queen's University Belfast, where she also co-ordinates the MSc in Autism Spectrum Disorders, leads the approved Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB) online course sequence, and supervises many Masters and Doctoral Students. Her research focuses on evidence-based early intervention for vulnerable children, parent education, and parenting across the lifespan. Professor Dillenburger is a Board Certified Behaviour Analyst-Doctoral (BCBA-D) and has worked extensively in child care, education, and therapeutic settings before being called to Queen’s University Belfast. She has published widely, including five paper-copy books and one ibook, five multimedia training resources on DVDs and CD-ROMs, and over 50 academic peer-reviewed papers. She is frequently invited to teach or deliver international keynote addresses in USA, India, Europe, and Australia.


    Child neglect
    Behaviour analysis
    Behaviour analysis and child neglect
    Behavioural parent education
    Developing programmes for neglect prevention
    Child care skills
    Child care routines
    Home safety
    Home hygiene
    Parent-child interaction
    Lessons for practice
    Child neglect and behavioural parent education practice tools