CASAs who have worked with infants and young children know it is a special and unique form of volunteering. Working with an infant can mean getting to know their parent as they navigate the system that is overseeing their child’s welfare (though our volunteers shouldn't be asked to babysit).
If your advocate child is pre- or non-verbal, you will have the chance to communicate, play and connect in ways critical to the child’s development such as by reading, singing, or talking.
The resources to the right will help you identify developmental milestones, learn about the current research on how to help a small child learn and grow, and ideas for ways to connect.
Some background data on young foster children, from a National Institute of Health study:
- Approximately 60% of young foster children experienced delays in language, cognitive abilities, gross motor development and growth, compared to an estimated 4-10% of children from the general population.
- 25-40% of foster children under age 6 entering daycare had significant behavioral problems, compared to only 3-6% of the children from the general population. (“Addressing the Developmental and Mental Health Needs of Young Children in Foster Care,” April, 2005)
Have a question about this issue? Ask a Specialist.
From Your CASA Training
- Download this glossary of children's games and this list of trauma-informed children's activities (CASA of Silicon Valley)
- Explore First 5, for a one-stop-shop of 0-5 year-old activity ideas, workshops, research, and good parenting practices (First 5)
- Get the conversation started -- why should a child go to preschool (Parents Magazine)
- Learn about social emotional developmental stages, broken down by age: One to Five (English | Spanish, New York City's Health Department, pdf)
- A friendly and accessible guide with advice for helping babies and toddlers, developmental stages, and activities (also in Spanish, New York City's Health Department, pdf)
- Make an account and find early childhood education resources here (Early Childhood Education Resources)
- Find more services for foster children 0-5 (Uplift Services)
- How to communicate and keep track of the growth of a young child (Centers for Disease Control)