Identification, screening and assessment
Stage 3 – Screening
Screening is a process which enables professionals to identify who might need further support.
It should be a fairly quick exercise, but a holistic one, in the sense of checking for a range of needs. It is a process designed to:
- Enable the worker and young person and parent/s to discuss and agree the best way forward.
- Filter out the children and young people who need no further attention.
- Identify where more detailed assessment (Stage 4) will be helpful, to build a fuller picture of the young person’s needs and of the evidence base that might best support progress. The results of screening tools can often strengthen your case with specialist teams for requesting such further assessment.
- Or highlight that there is enough information to move swiftly to plan the intervention (Stage 5) that is needed, by the Youth Justice Liaison and Diversion (YJLD) team or others.
Screening allows resources to be targeted more effectively on the children who need greater help to achieve their potential. Part of this is about intervening early. It is particularly important to screen for health conditions before they hit crisis point because of the strength of the evidence about the significant benefits (in both quality of life and cost savings) arising from early intervention and treatment, including responding to drug, alcohol and mental health problems, and reducing the health problems that interfere with educational progress.
Conversely, after screening, not every young person will require service intervention, even if risk factors are identified. Many of these young people will have strengths or protective factors which balance out the risk factors they experience and protect them from poor life chances.
A variety of screening tools are available, many of them tested scientifically to ensure that workers can identify people accurately (with not too many false positives or false negatives) and that different professionals come to the same conclusions using the same tool. Many of the tools commonly used by YJLD projects do not require input from a health specialist.
The screening tools lend themselves to being used flexibly. At this early stage of work, they might be applied singly, or alongside one or more of the others. At a later stage, they might also be used by other agencies as part of their more detailed assessment of children and family needs.
Children and young people (and parents of younger children) will need to consent to the screening process.
There may be no need for further action. Or the next step might be Stage 4 - Assessment or Stage 5 - Interventions.