We are happy to announce that in July 2022, Catholic Charities Kansas City- St. Joseph will be rolling out a new social-emotional program. The program, “Social Butterflies”, will provide social-emotional services to children 1-5 years old. Social-emotional development plays an important role in our development throughout life. Despite over seven decades of social-emotional development research, and the recent increase in awareness and services, it is still relatively unknown on a community level. So, what is social-emotional development?

Social-emotional development is the process in which an individual can identify, understand, and express emotions, as well as demonstrate the ability to develop positive social skills. Social-emotional development is what provides people with the tools to be successful as they navigate through life, whether that be expressing emotions appropriately, forming healthy relationships with others, or even their ability to be successful in their job. Social-emotional development is imperative for children as it establishes the groundwork for life.  Social-emotional development can be broken down into five key areas.  

These five areas cover all the different skills people develop and use as they advance through life. These skills are important and valuable to living a successful life, but what does healthy social-emotional development look like? 

  1. Self-awareness – the ability to identify one’s own emotions, likes and dislikes, and the ability to play by oneself.
  2. Self-management – the ability to manage and express one’s emotions appropriately.  
  3. Social awareness – the ability to identify emotions others are feeling, maintain eye contact when communicating with others, and feeling empathetic and understanding towards other’s emotions.  
  4. Relationship skills – interacting with caregivers, the ability to resolve conflicts (sharing or taking turns), and the ability to make and keep friends.  
  5. Decision-making – an increase in curiosity and independence, ability to follow directions, and communicate needs and wants instead of reaching or crying.  

The Social Butterflies program will address all five areas through developmental assessments. Children will be screened via Ages and Stages developmental assessment (ASQ:SE-2). To address developmental needs, Ages and Stages’ activities will be modeled and provided to aid in developmental progress, and parental education will be facilitated to address and improve any developmental concerns. Case management will be provided to continue to support any developmental or family needs. We are also happy to announce that for children who are screened and in need of additional developmental or mental health services, funding will be available to assist in costs. If you are interested in learning more, email us at cf@ccharities.com

Sam Womack, Director of Children and Family Services at Catholic Charities Kansas City-Saint Joseph

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