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SDQ and DAWBA recommended for children entering the care system

Around 48% of children looked after by local authorities in the UK have a diagnosable condition but most have never been assessed by Child & Adolescent Health Services.

This may account for in part the multiple placement breakdowns they experience and their poor long term outcomes.

Placement breakdown is also expensive in terms of time and funding but social workers complain that when a family is in crisis, wait times for mental health services can be 6 months to 4 years meaning that decisions have to be taken without sufficient scrutiny of possible mental health difficulties within the family.

Making pre-diagnostic assessment directly available to social care professionals is one possible way of addressing this problem and was part of the recommendations made in the following report.

The SDQ can be used by social workers as an immediate guide to client mental health whilst the DAWBA provides high quality risk assessment for psychiatric disorder and can be available through SWB Global within 24 hours of completion.

Bill Colley