Children’s essential development needs cover the following dimensions:
- Health This includes a child’s growth and development as well as their physical and mental wellbeing.
- Education This covers all areas of a child’s intellectual development which begins from birth.
- Emotional and behavioural development This is about a child’s emotional development and how this is reflected in their behaviour as they grow. It takes into account the child’s temperament, and how well they adapt to change and respond to stress.
- Identity This relates to the child’s self-image and self-esteem and children having a positive sense of their individuality.
- Family and social relationships This area is about the child’s increasing ability to understand and share the feelings of another.
- Social presentation This concerns the child’s growing understanding of how their appearance, behaviour and abilities contribute to the way they are perceived by the outside world and the impression they create on others.
- Self-care skills These include the child’s developing emotional maturity and the communication skills that will help them become independent. In the early years, they include the practical skills of washing, dressing and feeding, whereas for teenagers, they cover areas such as personal safety, sexual health and the ability to manage their own finances.
Where one or more of a child’s needs are not being met, they may require early help to ensure their situation does not worsen. Children are deemed ‘in need’ if they are unlikely to achieve or maintain a satisfactory level of health or development, or their health and development will be significantly impaired without the provision of services. Children ‘in need’ includes disabled children.