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Study of the Mother-Child Program

II The Fundamental Needs of the Child

2.1 Physical, Material And Emotional Needs
2.2 Needs For Health, Motor Functions And Sociability
2.3 Social Needs
2.4 Activities and Toys Required for Development


2.1 Physical, Material And Emotional Needs

In this section, we shall describe the physical, material and emotional needs of the child in relation to concepts associated with a perspective of clinical intervention. These are the concepts of parental authority and parental responsibility.

The concept of parental authority, is defined in terms of "what is expected from the parent in terms of his or her child, in order to foster the child’s harmonious development" (Rosalie Jetté Centre, June 1993). According to the authors of the study containing this definition, the child’s harmonious development fundamentally depends on two factors: the stability of the persons surrounding the child and of the environment in which the child develops, and the continuity of parental responsibility. According to the authors, it is the parent-child relationship which allows the mother and/or father to perform the various parental functions: protection, affection, education and authority (functions associated more specifically with the child’s physical, material, educational and emotional needs), and the "identification model" more specific to the child’s need for social interaction.

The second concept, that of parental responsibility, has been defined in terms of "assessing the child’s well-being through the exercise of parental responsibilities". Here we must refer to documents produced with the aim of "offering support for training various groups and individuals working with a clientele of mothers who, because of their deficient psychosocial circumstances, need to receive the benefit of their services (local community service centres [CLSCs], etc.)" (Foucault, Services conseils, 1993). In this perspective, we may refer to the document that P. Foucault produced in the fall of 1993, La formulation des plans d'intervention (1993).

Foucault’s document presents, in particular, an assessment matrix that makes it possible to evaluate the exercise of parental responsibilities through evaluation of the child’s well-being. This inventory can be used to evaluate any compromising of the child’s safety and development within the meaning of the Youth Protection Act, and also parental capacities. This instrument can be used to guide the development of a personalized plan of intervention with the parent responsible for the child (the parent’s degree of parenting ability), and also allows identification of the strengths and weaknesses of the environment in which the child is developing and a determination of indices of satisfaction of the child’s fundamental needs. The assessment matrix has been successfully used in a number of programs designed to prevent neglect, abuse and behavioural disorders affecting children and adolescents. It makes it possible to ensure that their needs are assessed, that the required services are offered to them, that the services are adequate and that the children will be "referred" if their living environment is unsatisfactory.

Presentation of the instrument

This inventory (including the French version) has been adapted to the Quebec context, and particularly to the training of middle managers, clinical supervisors, educators and consultants in regard to "developing service plans and intervention plans"(community service centres [CSSs], local community service centres [CLSCs] and other health and social service agencies) (Foucault, 1993). The original version of the instrument, which was prepared by Stephen Magura and Beth S. Moses (1986) and which is known as "The Child Well-Being Scales", has been translated and adapted by Richard Laurendeau (1989), then reviewed and corrected by Pierre Foucault (1992).

The inventory consists of 43 scales covering four areas associated with the well-being of the child:

1. Performing the parental role

2. Capacity for child care

3. The child’s performance of its roles

4. Capacity of the child to carry out these roles.

These scales consist of 4 to 6 categories (levels), covering the range from completely satisfactory to nil. Each category includes some of the criteria that were used to develop the scale (Foucault, 1993).

We shall limit ourselves here to presenting Level 1.1 of each of the scales of the inventory (the "completely satisfactory" level of an environment). The aim of this presentation is to answer the question regarding the physical, material and emotional needs of the child. Scales 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 10, 12 and 14 deal specifically with the child’s physical and material needs, while scales 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 24, 25, 26 and 27 are concerned with emotional needs.

We wish to thank Mr. Pierre Foucault, who has kindly given us permission to reproduce here all the scales and Level 1.1 of each scale. This information is taken from the above-mentioned document, which Mr. Foucault personally reviewed and corrected for the Centre de réadaptation Marie-Vincent (Marie-Vincent Rehabilitation Centre) in the fall of 1993.

SET OF ALL SCALES EVALUATED [ The data presented here are taken from the document La formulation des plans d’intervention , by P. Foucault, Services conseils (1993).]

1. Physical health care

2. Nutrition and food

3. Clothing

4. Personal hygiene

5. Furnishings of the home

6. Overcrowding in the home

7. Cleanliness and maintenance of the home

8. Providing a home and ensuring its stability

9. Utilities available in the home

10. Physical safety in the home

11. Mental health care

12. Supervision of children under 13 years of age

13. Supervision of teenagers

14. Child care services

15. Budget management

16. Limitations on parental capacity

17. Relations between the spouses

18. Continuity of parental functions

19. Recognition of problems

20. Motivation to resolve the problem

21. Cooperation with services

22. Support for the primary parent

23. Availability and accessibility of services

24. Acceptance of children, expression of affection towards the children

25. Approval of the children

26. Parents’ expectations of their children

27. Consistency in discipline in the home

28. Parent/child stimulation and education

29. Abusive physical discipline

30. Physical deprivations

31. Excessive physical restrictions

32. Limited access to the home

33. Sexual abuse by parent or other adult

34. Threats of abuse

35. Economic exploitation

36. Protection against abuse - first interview, follow-up

37. Educational needs

38. Academic performance

39. School attendance

40. Relationships in the family

41. The child’s behaviour problems

42. The child’s adaptation behaviour

43. The child’s incapacities


• Treatment of injuries, illnesses and incapacities

• Seriousness of the danger: life, complication, pain, contagion

• Symptoms are reported to physician

• Prevention

1.1 Satisfactory

There is no child with untreated injuries, illnesses or incapacities who could benefit from medical treatment (by a dentist, optometrist, etc.).


• Regularity, preparation of meals

• Adequacy and accessibility of food

• Healthy food/nutritional balance of meals

• Seriousness of consequences (medical attention, diet, hospitalization).

2.1 Satisfactory

The child receives regular, adequate meals, which allow for a balanced diet.

Scale No. 3: CLOTHING

• Number of items of basic clothing and changes of clothing

• Condition of clothing, clean (wearing out) and kept in proper repair

• Variety of clothing

• Consequences of lack of clothing: regular activities and protection.

3.1 Satisfactory

• The children have all the essential clothing they require, and they have enough changes of clothing to be clean and well turned out.

• Clothing is not new, but it is in good condition and it is appropriate.

• The clothing is very appropriate for the season, the place and the temperature. For example, children have clothing that is appropriate for the fall (rain garments, gloves, lighter clothing).


• Cleanliness of clothing and of the body (washing, hair, teeth, underwear, dirty clothes, etc.)

• Complaints from others

• Consequences of this state of affairs (rejection, sickness, etc.).

4.1 Satisfactory

• The children wash or take a bath daily.

• Their hair is combed and clean.

• Their clothes are regularly changed, even when they are not obviously dirty.

• The children wear clean underwear every day.

• Dirty diapers or underwear are quickly changed.


• Availability of the basic furnishings necessary for family life

• Availability of specialized furnishings

• Repair and replacement of broken items; seriousness of the gaps in this area.

5.1 Satisfactory

• The home has the essential basic furnishings and a kitchen with stove and refrigerator and a bathroom that are in good condition and are functional.

• Necessary repairs and replacements are carried out quickly.

• The home has specialized items for the care of children (for example, a cradle, a highchair, a walker, etc.), if necessary.

• There are no more than one or two minor problems. For example, the home needs more glassware, a repairman on call, more attractive furnishings, etc.


• Amount and availability of space (e.g., own place to sleep).

• Availability of separate spaces for the vital activities and functions essential to family life.

• Availability of separate spaces for private activities.

6.1 Satisfactory

• There are separate designated rooms for the various functions in the house and also for personal activities (eating, sleeping, cooking, recreation and so on).

• There is an adequate amount of space for each member of the family, for activities normally conducted in private.


• Order and placement of things in the home

• Basic cleanliness, dust, emptying out garbage, debris, kitchen, bathroom

• Presence of odours

• Regular washing of dishes and bedclothes

• Putting away food, in particular perishable items

• Presence of vermin

• Consequences of dirtiness.

7.1 Satisfactory

• As a general rule, the home is clean and in proper order.

• Carpets and hard flooring are regularly swept and cleaned when necessary. (Some small items may still be on the floor - e.g., bits of paper and thread)

• The home is regularly dusted. (There is no more than a thin layer of dust on the tables.)

• The odours in the home are neutral or pleasant.

• The home is in good order. However, some items of everyday life may be lying around, such as newspapers and books

• Dishes are washed or at least put in the sink after each meal.

• Groceries are carefully put away.

• The sheets are clean and there is no vermin.


• Cost and payment of rent

• Threat of eviction or condemnation

• (Moving).

8.1 The home is permanent and stable

• The rent or mortgage payments are up-to-date, and the family is able to meet future payments.

• If the family has to move for whatever reason, specific arrangements have been made in order to obtain a permanent home at a reasonable price. This is not a community shelter or housing occupied in cohabitation with another family.


• Availability of basic utilities (water, electricity, for cooking, plumbing)

• Loss or temporary cutting off of utilities

• Rapidity of repairs.

9.1 Available, reliable utilities

There is no regular or permanent problem regarding the supply of heat, water, electricity, light or gas for cooking.


• Number of dangerous situations

• Consequences of dangerous situations.

10.1 Safe home

There are no obviously dangerous situations in the home.


• Dispensing of services

• Impact on the child’s performance in his or her principal roles

• Consequences (deterioration, reaction of others around the child).

11.1 Entirely satisfactory

• All children who might benefit from professional treatment for a mental or emotional health problem or for a psychological problem are receiving appropriate services.

• This category includes children who have behavioural problems, such as delinquency, and who are known to services, but for whom adequate services have not yet been planned (see Scale 41).


• Pattern in which the quantity and quality of the attention provided to the children is adequate.

• Location, activities, dangerous circumstances

• Presence of injuries

• Capacity for action of the parent or of strangers.

12.1 Satisfactory

• Children are supervised appropriately within and outside the house. The parent knows where the child is, what activity the child is involved in, with whom the child is pursuing this activity and when the child will return home.

• There are clear limits on the children’s activities.


• Pattern in which the quantity and quality of the attention provided to the adolescents is adequate.

• Social activities; interest taken in the young person’s activities

• Existence of rules and limits

• Appropriate sanctions for breaking the rules

• Maintenance of the young person’s respect for the parent.

13.1 Satisfactory

• The parent provides adequate, sufficient supervision of the adolescents’ activities within and outside the house. The parent knows where the adolescent is, what type of activity the adolescent is involved in and with whom, and when the adolescent will return.

• Reasonable, clear limits are set for the activities of the young people.


• Appropriate services (i.e. stable and responsible), day and night

• Safety (reflecting age of the child)

• Ability to get in touch with the parent or an adult if necessary

• Importance of consecutive problems.

14.1 Satisfactory

• The parents provide appropriate, safe child care services when necessary (this includes looking after young babies and making arrangements for child care at night when the parents are away from home);


• The children are old enough that they normally do not require child care services.


• Priority given to child’s basic needs

• Planning and impulsiveness

• Frequency of borrowing, size of loans

• Quality of purchases and expenditures.

15.1 Satisfactory

• The parent spends the available money wisely, giving priority to the needs of the children. Food, rent and essential clothing have priority.

• The parent is capable of budgeting over a long period. When necessary, the parent can stretch out the available money to avoid being completely out of cash. The parent rarely needs to borrow.

• The parent may occasionally buy things that are not necessary, but rarely does so to the detriment of necessities.

• The parent tries to keep a reserve of money to deal with unexpected but significant needs.

• If the family is economically disadvantaged or does not have a reserve of money, this is because of inadequate income, not because of poor money management.


Personal limitation on the capacity to assume the role

Nature of the anticipated rupture in assuming the role

Type of substitute required to be present, to assume the role.

16.1 Satisfactory: no limitations

• There is no personal limitation on the capacity of the parents to provide care for the child.

• The parent has no physical, mental, emotional or behavioural limitation that interferes with his or her ability to provide care to the child.


In this scale, the term "parental relations" includes relations between adults who are cohabiting, whether they are married or not, provided that the relationship is stable and continuous.

• Number and nature of conflicts

• Mutual tolerance and support

• Nature of communication and of the emotional relationship

• Conflict resolution (involvement of the children, physical violence)

• Prospects for separation or divorce.

17.1 No significant discord

• Relations between the parents are good. Normal, infrequent disputes are observed.

• There is mutual tolerance, and conflicts are quickly resolved. Communication between the adults remains open.

• The parents have a positive emotional relationship and are very close to each other. The children are never involved in the parents’ arguments.

• There is never any physical violence between the parents, and there is no arguing regarding a possible separation.


• Permanence and regular rupture of the functions

• Number, nature and duration (permanent or temporary) of ruptures

• Preparation for ruptures; familiarity of substitutes.

18.1 Continuity of the parental function

• There is continuity in the parental couple that has been caring for the children for at least a year or since the referral.

• If there are two parents or guardians, they have remained together without separation. If there is only one parent or guardian, he or she has always had primary responsibility for the children.

• If the permanence of the parental function is shared with relatives, this represents an extension of the family network and the children are completely comfortable with these relatives.

• Parental functions are not interrupted permanently or for a long period.


• The parents understand the nature and seriousness of the problem.

• The parents recognize the role they have played in the development of the problems.

• The parents act accordingly (accept their share of responsibility).

19.1 Satisfactory: Good understanding and recognition of responsibilities

• The parent or guardian clearly understands the type of problem the family is experiencing and is generally in agreement with others regarding the importance of these problems.

• The parent is aware of the extent to which the needs of the children are not being met, whether on the physical, social or emotional level.

• The parent clearly understands his or her responsibility, share of responsibility or contribution to the problem (insofar as the parent is responsible for the existence of the problem). The parent accepts full responsibility if this is the case.


• Acceptance /rejection of the parental role

• Can meet the needs of the child (ability)

• The parent has confidence that he or she is able to do this (self-confidence and capacity for empathy) (belief)

• Willingness and concern for meeting the needs of the child (capacity for sacrifice, avoidance of errors in care or of inadequate care , avoidance of apathy) (desire)

20.1 Satisfactory: Demonstrates concern and is realistically confident

• The parent is concerned about the welfare of the children. The parent wishes to satisfy their physical, social and emotional needs to the extent that he or she understands them.

The parent has realistic confidence in the fact that he or she can overcome problems and is able to ask for assistance when the need for this is felt (i.e., is able to negotiate with the system and to acquire the required knowledge). [The parent is prepared to make sacrifices for the children.]


• Participation in the intervention (planning, direction, follow-up)

• Response to recommendations (follow-up)

• Availability

• Positive responses on the part of the parent or parents.

21.1 Satisfactory

• The parent is actively and totally involved in the planning and delivery of these services and of the intervention. This is true both for the services given to the child and for those that are provided for the parent himself or herself.

• The parent accepts and adequately uses the required services, including referrals to other services or to other service providers.

• The parent keeps appointments, makes himself or herself available as needed and follows instructions to the best of his or her ability.

• The parent pays attention to the effectiveness of the services or interventions, and complains when they are inadequate

• The parent may not agree with what is suggested to him or her, but tries to be constructive by proposing alternatives.

• When there are problems of cooperation, one finds that there are mitigating circumstances.


The primary parent is defined as the person who assumes the maternal role. This is usually the mother of the children.

• Informal support

• Closeness of the relationship (relatives and friends)

• Number and type of the persons available.

22.1 Parent supported

• When necessary, the primary parent can rely upon the assistance of one or more members of her immediate family and on two or more friends or other relatives.

• The members of the immediate family are defined as the other parent, a grandparent, a brother, a sister, or one of the primary parent’s adult children.


• Availability of essential services; the number and quantity of services

• Quality of essential services

• Accessibility of essential services.

23.1 Satisfactory

• All the essential services required by the family are available in sufficient number and quality. The services are suitable and accessible.

• The family has the necessary resources to pay for or have access to required services, if there are costs involved. (The family will be subsidized for these costs where appropriate.)

• The services are deemed to be available and accessible, even if they are rejected by the family.


• Unconditional acceptance of the child (positive perception)

• Reaction to the child’s demands for closeness

• Spontaneous verbal and physical expressions of affection

• Equal affection for and acceptance of all the children.

24.1 Parent is very accepting and affectionate

• The parent accepts the children and is very affectionate with them (for example, the parent frequently speaks affectionately or makes affectionate gestures).

• The parent encourages and warmly responds to "overtures" from the children when the children need physical contact or display an emotional response.

• The parent frequently talks about the children’s accomplishments and successes.


• Type of conditioning used by the parent

• Relationship between punishment and behaviour

• Proportionality of punishment

• Inconsistency on the part of the parent.

25.1 Approval is the principal means of directing the children.

• The parent prefers to guide the children by rewarding satisfactory behaviour, rather than punishing bad behaviour.

• Encouragement may often be given spontaneously.

• Criticism is limited, and is constructive.

• The parent does not show favouritism.


• Realistic nature of the parents’ demands, given the age of the child

• Knowledge of appropriate behaviour patterns

• Assisting and accompanying the child

• Encouragement without frustration

• Support without abandonment.

• Flexibility in demands

• Recognition and correction of one’s errors (openness to assistance)

• Consequences for the child (conflict, punishment, delays, hostility).

26.1 Very realistic parent

• The parent has a good knowledge of, or is able to clearly estimate, what behaviour patterns are appropriate for the age of the child.

• The parent gradually encourages more appropriate behaviour patterns, but is careful not to frustrate the child.

• The parent helps the child to carry out his or her tasks to the extent that the child needs this help, but does not allow the child to give up too quickly.

• The parent shows a great deal of flexibility in his or her demands, and offers options to the children.

• The parent may make some mistakes, but these are readily recognized and corrected.


• Pattern of consistent discipline (proportionality)

• Known pattern of discipline (predictability, impulsiveness).

27.1 Great consistency

The parent always carries through with rewards or punishments announced to the children. The parent very rarely contradicts himself or herself. The children know what to expect. Punishments are related to behaviour.


• The parent encourages the children to express themselves.

• The parent initiates or participates in child-centred activities.

• The parent teaches his or her children.

• The parent shows interest in the children’s activities.

28.1 Very active parent

• The parent fosters conversation or discussion. The parent encourages the children to tell their stories, to give their opinions or to show certain skills.

• The parent spends a good part of the day in activities that are child-centred.

• The parent makes a daily effort to show the young child things like colours, words and manners.

• The parent often inquires about how the child is doing in school, and assists the child in doing homework if necessary.


• Importance of the physical force used with the child

• Use of instruments, of violent blows

• Intention of the parent to do harm

• Proportionality of the corrective acts

• Degree of suffering or injury inflicted upon the child, need for medical care or hospitalization.

29.1 No physical discipline is used on the child.

• The child is never punished physically (e.g., the child is never slapped or hit as a way of punishing the child, controlling the child or changing or stopping one of his or her behaviour patterns).

• Only non-physical or non-violent methods of discipline are employed (for example, taking away privileges, verbal disapproval, etc.).

• The parent does not allow anyone to punish the child physically.


• Nature of the deprivation (water, food)

• Duration of the deprivation

• Extent to which the deprivation is intentional

• Consequences (none, clinical symptoms, physician, hospitalization).

30.1 No deprivation

• The child is not deliberately or intentionally deprived of food or water when these are available. This kind of deprivation is never used as a means of punishment.

• However, there may be restrictions on the type of food (for example, the child may not be allowed to have desserts or sweets) for non-disciplinary reasons (e.g., health reasons or economic reasons).


• Nature of the restriction (confined, attached, isolated, restrained)

• Duration of the restriction (hours, day, night, week, etc.)

• Intentional nature of the restriction (punishment, fear)

• Physical or emotional consequences.

31.1 No physical restrictions

The child is never deliberately confined, attached or hampered in any way whatever as a means of punishment.


• Nature of the exclusion (deprivation, expulsion, refusal to reconsider)

• Duration and time of the exclusion (day, night, season)

• Presence and nature of a substitute (stranger or not)

• Importance of consequences (danger, injuries, sickness, violence, crime, medical care, hospitalization).

32.1 No problem of accessibility

The child is never deprived of access to his or her home, and is never expelled from the home. This kind of deprivation has never been deliberately used as a method of punishment.

Scale No. 33: SEXUAL ABUSE

• Nature of the abuse

• Nature of the relationship between the child and the abuser.

33.1 No current or recent abuse or exploitation

The parent has not committed any sexual abuse, has not provoked the child in any way and has not allowed anyone to do so.


• Nature of the threat (verbal or physical, direct or indirect, specific or general)

• Seriousness of the predictable consequences (fear, danger, injuries, abuse).

34.1 No verbal or physical threat of abuse

• The child has not been subjected to any verbal or physical threat of abuse or violence.

• Culturally acceptable threats of corporal punishment do not constitute a threat of abuse.


• Nature of the activity imposed or permitted (from the acceptable to the illegal)

• Location of the imposed or permitted activity (in the home or outside the home)

• Consequences (health risks, impediment to social activities, emotional shock, arrest, etc.)

35.1 No economic exploitation

If the child works, he or she is involved in appropriate work (i.e., work in the home, or part-time work after school, etc.).


This scale only applies if a third person, in other words someone other than the parent or guardian, has abused the child previously or has threatened to abuse the child.

• Judgement of the parent (access to the child and monitoring of actions)

• Knowledge of the situation (identification and recognition of the signs)

• Actions designed to remedy the situation (elimination of causes).

36.1 Satisfactory

• The child has suffered abuse at the hands of a third party, despite the fact that the parent showed good judgement, in other words did not give this third party unlimited or uncontrolled access to the child.

• There have not been any prior indications that the abuse was likely to occur or that the parent had not taken reasonable precautions to protect the child from any potential abuse.

• The third party who previously abused or threatened to abuse the child is no longer living in the house.


• The parent has cut off ties with that person, or still maintains purely functional relations with the person.

• The potential for possible abuse is practically nil.

• The parent did not immediately report the abuser or seek help.


• Registration for appropriate services and enrolment in appropriate programs

• Provision for suitable support.

37.1 Adequate satisfaction of needs

• The child is enrolled or is to be enrolled in an appropriate class or program, given the child’s skills.

• If there are needs for special education, these are met (for example, through special education classes, counselling, tutoring etc.).

• If the child is not successful, this is not because of inadequate support.


• Average results

• Results and ranking in accordance with potential

• Number of subjects in which there was failure.

38.1 Acceptable

• At school, the child receives average grades.


• The child receives below-average marks, but this performance is believed to correspond to the child’s potential.


• Average time of attendance

• Nature of official interventions

• Academic consequences for the child

39.1 Average attendance

• The child may have missed a certain number of days of school, but not more than the other children.

• This includes children who attend school a little bit less frequently than the average.


• Nature of conflicts (type of relations and mutual tolerance)

• Nature of contacts and communications

• Efforts to solve problems

• Threat of separation (placement, refusal to return to the house).

40.1 Generally positive family relations

• There is mutual tolerance, and conflicts are quickly resolved.

• The child participates satisfactorily in the life of the family. This includes situations where the family relationship is good, even though the child has had to be placed for another reason.


In cases where the assessment is made some time after an initial meeting with the family or child, one should consider only the serious consequences that have resulted from recent behaviour problems, namely those occurring since the referral or last follow-up (case study).

• Nature of the harm done to others (verbal, minor or serious material damage, physical assault or danger for the child).

• Consequences for the child (placement, expulsion/suspension from school, arrest, injuries suffered by the child).

41.1 Generally acceptable behaviour

The child’s recent behaviour is comparable to that which characterizes other children of the same age.


• Capacity for handling delays and frustration

• Capacity for self-assertion

• Control of impulses

• Type of reaction to support from adults, peers.

42.1 Balanced adaptation, which is adequate in relation to the child’s age

• The child is able to compromise with others and to share, and is also capable of asserting his or her own rights when necessary.

• Generally speaking, the child is able to function independently at an age-appropriate level, but is also able to ask for help when necessary.

• The child looks for and accepts rewards, but is able to delay gratification when necessary, both with adults and with peers. The child rarely exhibits behaviours that involve complaining, cajoling or manipulating.

• In frustrating situations, the child does not strike objects or other people. Rather, the child expresses his or her feelings and acts in such a way as to change the situation, but not by harming others or giving up prematurely.



A. Chronic physical illness or physical disability.

B. Developmental disability or delayed development.

C. Emotional problem diagnosed as such. (This does not include problems of behaviour or social maladjustment, unless they are accompanied by a diagnosis of emotional disorder.)

D. Specific learning difficulty.

E. Hearing, sight or speech disability.

F. Presence of a symptom that causes a disability, but that has not been diagnosed.


• Nature and importance of the symptom

• Performance of the child in his or her major roles

• Response of others to bother caused by the child

• Danger for the child or for others

• Necessity of a placement.

43.1 No symptom observed or reported


2.2 Needs For Health, Motor Functions And Sociability

[ The data presented in Section 2.2 are taken from the document La négligence au CSSMM : fini le soliloque! Acte du colloque sur la négligence 6 octobre 1988 , Centre de services sociaux du Montréal Métropolitain, pages 54 and 55.]

0-6 weeks to 6 months

• Weight gain: 5 to 8 ounces per week. Food intake: approximately 30 ounces per day. Breast feeding: 2 to 4 hours a day for 6 weeks. Mother’s care: 2 to 4.5 hours a day for six weeks. Stools: from 5 or 6 per day to 1 every two to 6 days. Sleep: 6 to 8 periods per day. First vaccine at the age of 2 months (DPT, polio). Increase in height: 2 to 3 cm per month.

• The child tenses up when lifted. Equal movements of the arms and legs. The child stares at moving objects (at a distance of 8 to 12 inches).. The child smiles at 1 month of age.

3 to 6 months

• Milk: 35 ounces per day. Vaccination: at 2 to 4 months (DPT, polio). Sleep: at night, variable.

• On stomach, or in a sitting position, child controls head (does not hold self up unaided). Attempts to catch an object. Laughs out loud.

• Child is attracted by presence of father and children.

6 months

• Food: cereals, fruit, vegetables, meat, milk and snacks. Third vaccine (DPT). Lower incisors (two middle teeth). Sleep: at night, variable.

• Child turns around easily. Child can maintain a sitting position, with head straight.

• Child makes a distinction between two objects.

9 months

• Solid food, three meals per day plus milk, snacks. Upper central incisors. Sleep, at night, variable.

• The child crawls, sits by himself or herself, and stands up with support.

• The child says "papa" and "mama", and produces patter, recognizes faces, cheers, plays peek-a-boo.

1 year

• Child weighs 14 to 16 pounds more than at birth. Food: 3 meals per day, snack. Vaccines (against measles, rubella, mumps). First molar, variable sleep.

• Walks with support. Hands over an object that is requested. Likes to tear up paper. Eats alone.

• Likes music, knows the meaning of "no".

1 ½ years

• The anterior fontanelle closes between 15 and 18 months. Dentition: 4 canines. Vaccines: DPT/polio booster. Sleep between 1 and 2 years of age: 10-12 hours per night. One nap in the morning. One nap in the afternoon.

• Beginning of toilet training. Child climbs the stairs, doodles, feeds himself or herself.

• Child recognizes images.

2 years

• Growth up to the age of 5 years: Weight gain of 4 pounds per year, and height gain of 2 to 3 inches per year. Additional molars. Variable naps.

• Child uses a spoon. Helps with getting undressed. Stacks 6 cubes. Indicates body parts when asked to do so.

• Child takes an interest in stories with pictures.

2 ½ years

• Sleep: 10 to 12 hours per night, 1 nap in the afternoon.

• Child imitates a straight line and a circle. Child helps to put things away. Takes off an item of clothing. Acquired cleanliness.

• The child says "I". The child knows his or her full name.

3 years

• Child climbs up stairs one leg at a time. Child names the parts of his or her body. Copies a circle, helps in getting dressed. Peddles a tricycle.

• Group play.

3 ½ years

• Child builds a tower of 8 cubes.

4 years

• Child doubles in height.

• Child washes and dries own hands. Child cuts with scissors. Child draws a simple human figure. Child buttons up own clothing. Child copies a cross.

• Child is interested in simple stories. Counts up to 4.

4 1/2 years

• Child copies a square. Child goes to bathroom alone and gets dressed without supervision.

• Child can tell a story. Child uses plural forms of words.

5 years

• Vaccination: DPT and polio booster.

• Child draws a triangle. Child can name 4 colours.

• Child asks questions and can count up to 10. Readily separates from his or her mother.

6 years

• Permanent teeth begin to come in.


2.3 Social Needs

The family long played a fundamental role as an agent of socialization. Traditionally, the large family offered the child a set of regular, sustained contacts with older brothers and sisters, grandparents and the extended family.

The mother assumed the determining role for the social development of the child, and it was therefore believed that children could attach themselves only to their mother during the first years of life. The emergence of nurseries in the late 1970s gave researchers an excellent environment in which to observe social behaviour among very young children (Martin et al., 1992). By that time, family structure had greatly changed. Often, both parents worked outside the home, and children were increasingly entrusted to strangers.

There has been a great deal of controversy regarding the possible effects on children’s development and adaptation of having them looked after in environments other than that of the family. This issue gave rise to very extensive research work on children’s social development. Research work on the negative effects of keeping children in orphanages had begun in the 1960s, because these children suffered from intellectual and behavioural backwardness. Their problems were associated with the fact that they were separated from their mother. Today, it is acknowledged that "the problem lay more in the absence of emotional care than in the actual lack of a mother" (Martin et al., 1992).

Today we know that the family plays just as determining a role in the process of socialization, but that children can become involved in various social relationships from the first months of life. Recent research studies "increasingly emphasize the determining role of many persons other than the mother in the child’s social development, from the first year of life" (quoted in Martin et al., 1992). Children seems to be able to attach themselves to a number of people at once, from early infancy. The child is defined in today’s literature as a fundamentally "social" being. "The more the child is in contact with sociable adults, the more likely the child is to become sociable" (Martin et al., 1992). Nonetheless, it is agreed that it is not so much the number of persons in the child’s environment that foster the child’s social development, but rather the quality of contacts.

Although there may be differences of opinion in this vast field, there is consensus on a number of observations: children need social contacts to develop a good image of themselves and of others; this need is essential to their development; it is the quality of the social relationships that will influence the development of the child’s personality; a high-quality social network, in terms of social relationships (presence of attachment relationships, contacts with sociable adults, contacts with other children), is fundamental and is what will enable the child to develop effective interpersonal skills; and if these needs are not met, various adaptation problems may arise. Moreover, studies have shown that certain relationships seem to have a particular importance for children’s well-being.

Attachment relationships

It has been shown that, before the end of the third month, children seek social contacts, particularly with the person who looks after them (usually their mother). Recent work has shown that children may safely attach themselves to several adults at a time, but that about three persons seems to be the maximum (Crombrugge and Vandemeulebroecken, 1994). According to these authors, "the condition for a secure attachment is not so much the continual presence of the adult, but rather the measure of ‘responsiveness’, that is, the manner in which and the stability with which the adult responds to the demands of the child. This is not a character trait of the mother, but rather an attitude that depends on certain circumstances." Several members of the mother’s social network can play this role without harming the child’s welfare: an educator, a volunteer, a relative, a friend, and so on. The quality of the contact, and the stability and continuity of these figures, are the major factors that must be taken into account. According to Martin et al. (1992), children prefer their parents, the father just as much as the mother, to a stranger. However, children will have a greater tendency to run to their mother when experiencing stress (sickness, loss of an object or a person). Let us remember, in this connection, that the quality of the relationship with the mother is more important than the quantity of the exchanges that the child may have with her.

Relations with peers

It appears that relationships with other children from the age of six months on constitute an advantage for the child (Martin et al., 1992). Nurseries and day care centres, for example, may offer opportunities for contact with other children on a regular basis. It also seems that children appreciate encounters with other children in their extended family (cousins, etc.). According to Martin et al., recent research dealing with this aspect of the social initiation of young children by peers has conclusively shown that children who regularly attend a child care facility should be more skilful in dealing with their peers than children kept at home. These authors add that interaction with young people of their own age, whether positive or negative, facilitates children’s acquisition of models of social behaviour.

Relations with the educator

When the child attends a nursery or a day care centre, "the child has an opportunity to establish a reassuring attachment relationship with an adult other than his or her parents, namely the educator." The nature of this relationship differs from the relationship the child has with his or her mother. According to Martin et al. (1992), however, the educator must adopt a more objective, more detached attitude than that of the parents, in order to be able to deal with a number of children. The ideal proportion would be one adult for every 3 to 7 children (quoted in Turisse and Boutin, 1994). "The activities to which adults must devote themselves in addition to the care they give to the child are also important ... A greater ‘responsiveness’ goes along with a lower adults/children ratio ... this would seem to result in more frequent contacts between adult and child" (Crombrugge and Vandermeulebroecken, 1994).

Relationships with significant adults

The "identification model" function is an important concept pertaining to children’s socialization. Children model their behaviour on that of the adults with whom they come into contact. One of the parental functions has been defined in these terms: "a function by which the parent makes available to his or her child the models the child will use to construct his or her own way of being, namely his or her identity" (CRJ, 1993). According to these authors, the choice of the proposed models is of capital importance, because these models have a significant influence on the child. They deem it important to compensate for the absence of a male or female figure, as the case may be. The parent’s role is to provide the child with models of the same sex as the absent parent. These models can be introduced into the child’s life in various ways: day care centre, relatives, friends, self-help groups, etc. According to the authors, the accumulation of stimulations by models will have an impact on the child, as a significant model.


However, it is much easier to determine clearly children’s material and physical needs than to identify the "degree" or "frequency" of the contacts required for their socialization. Claiming to have a definitive matrix in this field would be tantamount to stating that one knew not only each of the factors associated with individualization, but also exactly how these factors interact at each stage in development to lead to very serious problems of adaptation (Bouchard, C. et al. (1991). such as autism.

In order to answer this question, we shall here examine one of the factors determining the child’s process of social development on which there is consensus today. This factor is the quality of the social network in terms of quality of relationships of support. Studies dealing with this concept currently form a vast body of research which we cannot survey exhaustively in this context. Let us note, however, that researchers agree that the social environment of the children for whom programs are designed must be one of the concerns of the designers of these programs. Bouchard (1982), Guay et al. (1987), Barrera (1981), Belsky (1981), Garbarino (1981), and Durand et al. (1989) are among the authors who hold that interventions relating to the social network are an effective means of prevention in the field of child development. Such interventions make it possible to break through the isolation of parents and to prevent neglect, and particularly social and emotional neglect, of children. The majority of research efforts in this field have given rise to a number of pilot projects, in which the interventions are aimed at reducing the impact and consequences of social isolation on children living in circumstances described as "at risk". The finding emerging from these projects is that the creation of support, self-help or other networks should be supported.

Social isolation refers to a lack or poor quality of contacts and exchanges with formal and informal systems of interaction and support (parents, relatives, friends, neighbours, professionals, etc.). This social isolation results in a lack of the kind of support that fosters development of identity and enhanced self-esteem (lack of information on proper social conduct to adopt, lack of identification models, emotional lack, lack of social stimulation, etc.)(Guédon et al (1989)).

When the social network is limited or is likely to have a negative effect or to contribute to maintaining problems, and it may be necessary to resort to external resources. It would seem that the social groups grappling with such problems could benefit from the help of non-professional workers. These workers may have different names (parental aides, natural helpers, etc.), may or not be paid, and may or may not have specific training, but what they have in common is the fact that they do not have professional status and do not have authority over the families (Guédon et al., 1989).

A number of experimental programs, including "De la visite", "La parentèle" and "Marrainage", have revealed the importance of taking the social environment of the targeted individuals into account and of making their social network dynamic, and have also shown the relevance of assistance from non-professional workers. The major findings emerging from the prevention programs can help CSC to set up services that would minimize some negative effects that might arise from the development of services for federally sentenced women, such as the social isolation of mothers (in terms of quality of support). Such services could also enhance the capacity of mothers to develop a high-quality social network, and could establish an atmosphere of self-help and mutual support among mothers covered by the program.

For a social network to be considered favourable to the welfare and development of the child, it must contain a variety and wealth of significant, stable identification models for the child. Moreover, the choice of models has been deemed to be of capital importance. These models must take into account how one hopes to serve as a model for the child (CRJ, 1993).

In order to develop or consolidate parenting skills, mothers must likewise have access to a system of social interaction (in terms of support), which would make it possible to offer them the kinds of support appropriate for their circumstances. Six types of support have been targeted in the literature: material aid and physical assistance, emotional support, information, positive feedback and socialization.


One of the objectives of the program should be to overcome the social isolation of FSW mothers. We believe that interventions with respect to the network should, among other things, be fostered through a non-professional approach, developed as a complement to the work of the professionals who will be involved in the program. A number of research findings can be used as premises for interventions in relation the network of mothers targeted by the FSW program. In this regard, individuals making up the social network of the FSW mother (parents, staff, friends, educators in the day care centre, volunteers, etc.) would provide a pool of human resources and could play this role of complementary model for the children. It seems that children also greatly appreciate having contact with their grandparents.

Where appropriate, one could overcome the absence of significant models in the mothers’ informal social network through the integration of "visiting mothers" (whether volunteers or not). These visiting mothers could provide opportunities for giving the child social stimulation (with the mother where possible): walks in the environment, shopping, visits to restaurants, and accompaniment for trips to the doctor, the dentist, the movies, etc.. These are examples of opportunities that accompanying women (volunteers or not) could use to intervene with respect to the mother’s social circle (Durand et al., 1989). It seems to us that the development or consolidation of a significant formal and informal social support network for FSW women, as defined by Frenette (1983) (see interventions in relation to the social network), would help to develop a climate that would be positive for the health and well-being of children in this very high risk environment.


2.4 Activities and Toys Required for Development

[ The data presented in Section 2.4 are taken from the document La négligence au CSSMM : fini le soliloque! Acte du colloque sur la négligence 6 octobre 1988 , Centre de services sociaux du Montréal Métropolitain (Social Services Centre Metropolitan Montreal), pages 56 and 57.]


Small babies use their hands and eyes to play. The toys that are the most suitable for this age are brightly coloured, can be safely and easily held in the hand and can be hung above the crib with no danger of falling.

Properties of toys: bright colours, varied textures, washable, light. The toys must be large enough not to be swallowed, but not too large, so that they can be easily handled. They must not have any pointed corners or sharp edges, and they must be coloured with non-toxic products.


Rattles, rubber toys for water, toys that make noise, soft dolls, stuffed animals (fuzzy or not), mobiles, rings and balls stretched across the crib or pram, teething toy, sponge toy, soft cloth ball.


The babies begin to crawl and many of them begin to walk. They now begin to explore their home, and this seems to be their preferred activity. As the author stressed, it is important to keep all hazardous and toxic objects out of the reach of babies. We note that parks, while offering limited opportunities for exploration, are sometimes preferable for safety reasons. Children between six months and one year of age are interested in objects that enable them to exercise their muscular abilities.


Toys for a sitting position. Small coloured blocks, nesting cups, Activity Centre, large beads to put together. Noise-making toys: pots, spoons, aluminum plates, ring pyramids, plastic pots, covers. A walker allowing the child to move without risk of falling.


Children at this age are able to grasp objects between the thumb and index finger. One must therefore be careful not to let them get their hands on objects they can swallow. Since they are starting to walk, children like to see objects roll (whether they are pulling or pushing them). In this regard, it seems preferable to buy toys that children can push.


Small truck, train, animals on wheels, tear-proof books (made of cloth or heavy cardboard), ball, rocking horse, small telephone, musical radio, pegboard, shapes to place in a container, brush, box for making a house, small carrying toy.

The following comments are added: children like to knock down block towers that adults have made, or like to play hide and seek with objects (putting small objects in a box or removing them). There are many repetitive games.


At this age, the child has more physical skills, greater manual dexterity and a great desire to imitate others. The child also likes to scribble.


Small tricycle, doll, child’s car, set of dishes, workbench, large construction set, blocks with bristles, wagon, simple puzzle (3 to 5 pieces) inset puzzles, nesting eggs, graduated cups, crayons (large or jumbo), colouring book, sheets, sandbox set (pail, shovels), water set, threading beads, play doh, plasticine, punching bag, simple musical instrument.

Costumes: old cloths, hats, bags, ties.

Simple story books, catalogue. Drawings: doodling. The child prefers to ask the adult to make a simple drawing of a person.


Children begin to show an interest in construction sets. Children of this age like to colour a great deal. They also like toys on which they can ride around.


Tricycles, cars and toys that children can ride. Small cars and trucks (for boys and girls), large wooden blocks, pencils, scissors, glue (non toxic). Paint with paint brushes, clarinet, construction set (mini bricks, lego). Lacing toys, dolls houses, doctor’s bag, nursing kit, cash register. Families of animals or dolls. Swing, blackboard and chalk. Puzzle (6 to 10 pieces). Simple memory game.

Simple manual work: empty boxes, small sticks, toothpicks, macaroni.

Three-year-old’s drawing: The child doodles when asked to make the human figure, but can complete a human figure started by the adult.

Four-year-old’s drawing: The child can produce a rudimentary human figure (head, eyes, arms, legs).


Fine coordination and motor skills develop rapidly in children of this age. At about six or seven years of age, the child can ride a bicycle.


Bead assembly sets; cutting up construction paper (buy a good pair of scissors). Small or large balls; bicycle with or without removable training wheels.