Inadequately remedied abuse and neglect has costly implications for children's physical and emotional health, behaviour, growth and development. It is relevant to major physical and psychological causes of adult morbidity and mortality, involvement in crime as victim and perpetrator and parenting difficulties, but not inevitably so. Resilience varies, and its promotion is a professional priority. Achieving recovery is a complex therapeutic task, often extending over years, not simply a matter of providing new parents. Neurobiology increasingly explains why this is so. Effective safeguarding means keeping long-term responsibilities in mind throughout. Balancing risks and benefits of intervention requires consideration of the implications of the quality of relationships which neglect and abuse reflect. The aim of this paper is to contribute to the understanding of recovery, and paediatricians' roles in achieving it.
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