SDQ for YOTs
The Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire helps YOTs
to understand where young people need help and
to evaluate which kinds of help are most effective.
It is vital that organisations which are there to help young people, know about their background and where help is needed in order to support them in overcoming problems that cause them difficulties.
"Youth offending teams work with young people that get into trouble with the law, they look into the background of a young person and try to help them stay away from crime." - GOV.UK
New guidance specifically around referral orders requires case workers and volunteers to look more closely into the underlying causes of a young person's offending behaviour. It can be very difficult for case workers when first meeting a young person who is not known to them and if they have little background information. For panel members it can be more difficult to get a young person to open up in front of a group of people, than speaking one to one.
Using the SDQ shares understanding about a young person's strengths as well as their problems and challenges.
The views of the young person, their parent or carer and professionals such as a teacher or a social worker can be compared and succinctly summarised. This insight helps all the people who are engaged in supporting the young person through the order to know where to look for reasons for their problems.
For over 20 years, we have been using questionnaires and assessments to give those working with young people, insights about how they and those around them, feel about their health, well being, mental health, their environment and their behaviour.For over 20 years, we have been using questionnaires and assessments to give those working with young people, insights about how they and those around them, feel about their health, well being, mental health, their environment and their behaviour.
The Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ)
The SDQ is a brief behavioural screening tool for assessing 3-16 year olds. It covers Emotional Symptoms,Conduct Problems, Hyperactivity, Peer Problems and Pro Social behaviour (see the table below that describes these areas). We are licensed through an agreement with the NHS to provide the SDQ.
The SDQ can be done by the young person, a parent or carer and a professional such as a teacher or a social worker, to give a 360º assessment. Having these results when an agency starts to work with a young person may not provide all the answers but it would be a good place to start trying to to understanding the underlying causes of a young person's situation.
If SDQs are repeated they can indicate how effective the work with a young person has been.
For example, with a young person showing 'Emotional Symptoms', the service could plan interventions aimed at addressing what they believed to be the causes. When completed if the learning was effective a repeated SDQs would show in the scores of the young person, the parent and the caseworker.
Complains of headaches, stomachaches, sickness
Becomes anxious in new situations
Always fidgeting, squirming
Acts without thinking
Doesn't see tasks through to the end
Does not do as is told
Fights with other children
Cheats or lies
Solitary, plays alone
Doesn't have friends
Doesn't feel liked by other children
Picked on or bullied by other children
Gets on better with adults than other children
Pro Social behaviour
Considerate of other people's feelings
Shares with others
Helps if someone gets hurt
Kind to younger children
Volunteers to help
SDQs and youcansay
We work with schools and a variety of children's services to deliver SDQs. One local authority we worked with had been using paper versions of SDQs and carryout about 90 a year, since we started working with them their annual usage has gone up to over 2000. This is due to the questionnaire being easier to administer, collate and report on. Schools and services are doing so many more SDQs because they can now see that the information they get from them is really useful in helping them to help young people.
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