Needs Assessment
Part 1: Needs Assessment Introduction < Previous Section | Next Section >
The Needs Assessment: Understanding Your Child

How do I prepare for the Needs Assessment?
Before you complete the Needs Assessment it is important that you understand in general terms how a family transition may affect children of different ages and how to help them cope. You may learn about these issues by completing a National Family Resiliency Center (NFRC) parent seminar or by thoroughly reading some of the many resources which can be found on the NFRC website. Once you have familiarized yourself with this background information you are ready to apply it to your unique family.

How do I complete the Needs Assessment?
Your first step is to look at each child in your family as an individual. Take out a current picture of your child. Use the picture to help you think about this child as you answer each question.

NFRC’s Needs Assessment will help you define the needs of your child within each area of development. We advise that you complete one Needs Assessment and your child’s other parent also completes one. After you have both finished the Needs Assessment, it will be helpful to compare your responses. We hope that you will find that there are many areas in which you see your child in similar ways. There may be some aspects of your child for which you may have more information while the other parent may be more knowledgeable in other areas. Together you will be able to paint a detailed portrait of each child’s strengths, interests, talents, and needs.

  • Please don’t worry if you can’t complete every part of the Needs Assessment. The process helps to pinpoint the fact that you may need to learn more. You can leave sections blank, then return to them later as you gather additional information.

  • Not every question will be applicable to every child. Fill out just the sections that pertain to your son or daughter. Complete the sections in the order that you prefer.

  • If you are completing the process for more than one child, the subsequent Needs Assessments may be easier, as some information such as childcare, schools, and parent responsibilities may apply to several of your children.

  • As a parent, you are undoubtedly a very busy person! Give yourself some time to complete this task. You may want to do no more than one or two sections of the Needs Assessment at a time. The end result, a very thorough and thoughtful study of each child’s needs for a parenting plan, is well worth the time.

  • What does the Needs Assessment ask about my child?

    The Needs Assessment includes 14 sections:

    Sections & Focus
    1. Needs Assessment Introduction
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    2. Getting to Know Your Child
    Your child’s unique personality, temperament, feelings, and strengths
    3. Helping Your Child Understand Family Change
    What your child knows about changing family circumstances and how he/she has responded to the changes
    4. Your Relationship with Your Child
    How you and your child spend time together, communicate, and build your relationship
    5. Your Child’s Living Arrangements
    Current arrangements and how your child responds to them
    6. Your Child’s Educational Needs
    Academic achievement, concerns, and supports
    7. Your Child’s Important Interpersonal Relationships
    Others who play significant roles in your child’s life
    8. Your Child’s Extracurricular Activities
    The religious, social, educational, athletic, and artistic activities in which your child is engaged
    9. Nurturing Your Child’s Spiritual Beliefs and Practices
    Addressing your child’s religious and ethical education, beliefs, and practices
    10. Your Child’s Physical and Emotional Health
    Caring for your child’s physical and emotional needs
    11. Providing for your Child’s Supervision and Physical Safety
    Provisions for supervision, child care, and emergencies
    12. Fostering Appropriate Behavior
    Rules, consequences, and how your child engages with them
    13. Co-Parenting: Communicating and Collaborating with Your Child’s Other Parent
    How you communicate and cooperate with the your child’s other parent regarding your child
    14. Other Information?
    Any additional insights or concerns about your child

    There are no right or wrong answers in the Needs Assessment process. This is an opportunity to think about and describe your child in the way that only a parent can do. Feel free to complete the sections in the order that makes the most sense to you.
    1. Needs Assessment Introduction
    2. Getting to Know Your Child
    3. Helping Your Child Understand Family Change
    4. Your Relationship with Your Child
    5. Your Child's Living Arrangements
    6. Your Child's Educational Needs
    7. Your Child's Important Interpersonal Relationships
    8. Your Child's Extracurricular Activities
    9. Nurturing Your Child's Spiritual Beliefs and Practices
    10. Your Child's Physical and Emotional Health
    11. Providing for your Child's Supervision and Physical Safety
    12. Fostering Appropriate Behavior
    13. Co-Parenting
    14. Other Information
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    Copyright 2008: Risa J. Garon and Carolyn Wohnsigl, National Family Resiliency Center, Inc. All Rights Reserved.