Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaires (SDQs) Guidance

1. Introduction

SDQs may be completed by carers, parents, social workers, teachers and other staff who know the child well. When SDQs are repeated, the comparisons over time should ideally be done by the same person for consistency's sake.

2. Timescales for completion of SDQ

Referrals to Early Intervention panels should include completion of the SDQ, and then at least 6 monthly intervals.

The SDQ should be carried out to support the completion of the single assessment then at least 6 monthly intervals.

Children in Need (CIN) cases – by the first review of the CIN plan and at least 6 monthly after that.

Children on a Child Protection plan – by the first review, and at least 6 monthly after that unless one has been recently done.

Following de-escalation of the case (e.g. from Child Protection to CIN, or CIN to Family Support) or major changes in the child's life.

Children Looked After cases – should be completed by the carer within 6 months of becoming Looked After and at least annually after that.

N.B. the SDQ can be carried out by parents, carers, social workers, teachers and other professionals who know the child well  but it would not be appropriate for a child new in placement to have the SDQ completed by their carer. However, if there is another professional who knows the child well, they could complete it sooner. For many of these children a SDQ may have been recently completed.