Strengths and Difficulties Questionaire
All local authorities have a statutory requirement to provide information on the psychological and emotional health of children in care, and specifically emotional and behavioural difficulties.
This information is collected using a Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ). This is a widely used tool for assessing a child’s emotional well-being, looking at the likelihood of problems being already present or of developing in the future.
All children or young people aged between 4 and 17 years old inclusive must have a questionnaire completed by their main carer twice a year which should be aligned to the health assessment. The questionnaire asks the carer to read various statements and then judge how well it describes the young person living with them.
If the score is identified as being of concern, as per the SDQ guidance, triangulation will be requested whereby the child’s/young person’s school will be asked to complete the teacher’s questionnaire. A triangulated approach provides a more rounded picture of the young person and enables a decision to be made about what, if any, further services they may need to address the difficulties identified.
The SDQ information will be considered within the health assessment by the Looked After Children’s Nurses. The health assessment, health plan with recommendations and SDQ score will be sent to the social worker.