The needs of children vary greatly depending upon their age. At two years old a child wouldn’t be able to speak for themselves they would be very dependent on a resource parent for care and nurturing. Their basic needs would be food, proper hygiene in diaper changing or toilet training and major protection and security. The two year old would need to attach to the caregiver for security and to develop verbally. The CASA would have to be involved with asking the resource parent questions and keeping up with the pediatrician’s recommendations for medical and developmental needs. We would be responsible for ensuring the caregiver is providing emotional and psychological security as well as physical needs being met. We will rely heavily on the child’s reactions to being in the caregivers presence and maybe playing on the floor with the child learning his/her basic vocabulary and interacting at that level to establish a healthy relationship.
A case with a 7 year old would differ in that the seven year old has developed a vocabulary and can usually articulate their basic needs for food, hygiene and likes/dislikes. The 7 year old May display generalized anxiety about the transition to a new normal and regress in toileting habits and also attempt to not interact with the resource parent . If they’re needs were not being met in their home they may not trust the resource parent and act out. They may withhold speech and not eat when meals are served. As their CASA volunteer we should respect their feelings and attempt to build a relationship upon something familiar like their favorite TV character, their favorite storybook, maybe ask about their bedtime routine and make them feel comfortable in their new environment. At 7 they can act overly mature or rather immature as a demanding “5 or 6” year old maybe bossy and loud. We would need to establish why they are acting out and attempt to find them an outlet for these behaviors I.e. a therapist to talk with/ play therapy is often used at this level to express what they are feeling.
Finally a 15 year old in our care would be dependent upon their maturity level as acting grown up if they’ve been in and out of the system or acting immature for their age. We ours need to establish parameters for our relationship. What we don’t provide money, deliveries of gifts, rides to anywhere and visit them asking about social activities and recognize they are forming their identity and looking to adults to pattern their lives after. Basically we can help “make them or break them” we must be honest yet not over share information that will make them depressed or anxious leading to any exploration of outside resources I.e. drugs,
Relationships or drinking . Build rapport and establish a working relationship though trust. “What you say I listen and respect!”