Indirect Assessment

The Baseline Assessment

At this stage, it is important to understand that assessments are completed indirectly with adult carers, based on observations, interactions and experiences they have with the child.  It is felt that direct assessment in the early days of placement can be highly anxiety provoking for young people in transition.

When a young person is referred to Starley Hall and the referral is accepted, the young person’s background information is collated and summarised by Dr Shona Quin, Clinical Psychologist.  Shona will compile a short initial profile report for the adult team highlighting areas of potential vulnerability based on background experiences, also making suggestions about how the care and education team can facilitate the transition into Starley Hall.


Following acceptance of a referral, Liz Duff, our child and adolescent mental health practitioner, gathers information relating to past and present health needs and previous involvement with health services. This enables us to establish liaison and connect the young person with the appropriate local services

Once a young person has arrived at Starley Hall, Dr Shona Quin and/or Jane Macer will distribute standardised screening questionnaires for the teams to complete to assist in the initial screening process.

The systems and questionnaires used by the therapeutic team, with input from the wider education and care teams, include:

- The Adaptive Behaviour Assessment System (ABAS)

- The Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ)

- The Children's Communication Checklist (CCC)

The Adaptive Behaviour Assessment System

This is an assessment completed indirectly by the staff team based on their observations of a young person’ daily living skills.  This tool is used to help us gain a broad understanding of a young person's adaptive functioning skills, helping us identify areas that require further development and allowing us to identify appropriate targets when care planning.  It also gives us a baseline against which future progress can be measured. 

The Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire

The SDQ is a brief emotional and behavioural screening questionnaire for children and young people, capturing at this early stage, the perspective of the adult carers. Where possible the young person will contribute their views to this assessment. The areas assessed using this measure include: emotional symptoms, conduct challenges, hyperactivity, peer relationships and pro-social behavior.  Again this gives us an idea of the needs of the young person and provides a baseline against which future progress can be measured. A short report is written to summarise the outcome.

The Children’s Communication Checklist

The CCC-2 has been developed to help us understand more about communication strengths and difficulties in children.  This checklist is completed by the team based on their observations of the young person’s communication in daily settings at home and at school and as such is a checklist of observed behaviour that enables us to gain an initial understanding of how the young person communicates

Next stage

Following completion of these screening assessments, Jane and Shona will meet with the lead manager to collate findings, to support development of an 'At A Glance' profile and to consider how we move forward to support the psychological wellbeing and development of each child. 

A brief formal screening report will be distributed on completion.