How we measure

Screening Measures 

All screening measures used by the LINK are evidenced based tools recommended by CORC (Child Outcomes Research Consortium) and are used nationally in child and adolescent mental health services.


The Revised Children’s Anxiety and Depression Scale (RCADS) and the RCADS - Parent Version (RCADS-P) are 47-item questionnaires that measure the reported frequency of various symptoms of anxiety and low mood. They produce a total anxiety and low mood score and separate scores for each of the following sub-scales: separation anxiety; social phobia; generalised anxiety; panic; obsessive compulsive total anxiety; and low mood.


RCADS and the RCADS-P can be used for tracking symptoms as well as providing additional information for assessment. The tool can be useful in highlighting specific issues, such as separation anxiety or obsessive compulsive disorder, where the initial difficulty seems to be a more general one, such as generalised anxiety or low mood.


The RCADS can be completed by young people aged from 8 to 18 years and the RCADS-P can also be completed by the parent or carer of young people aged across the same age groups. Clinical experience indicates that RCADS is too developmentally advanced for use with young people with learning disabilities, but has been found to be useful for some CYP with mild learning difficulties (Law & Wolpert, 2014).



The Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) is a brief emotional and behavioural screening questionnaire for children and young people. The tool can capture the perspective of children and young people, their parents and teachers. There are currently three versions of the SDQ: a short form, a longer form with an impact supplement (which assesses the impact of difficulties on the child's life) and a follow-up form. The 25 items in the SDQ comprise 5 scales of 5 items each. The scales include: 

  • Emotional symptoms subscale
  • Conduct problems subscale
  • Hyperactivity/inattention subscale
  • Peer relationships problem subscale
  • Prosocial behaviour subscale

The SDQ can be used for various purposes, including clinical assessment, evaluation of outcomes, research and screening. The SDQ can be completed by children and young people aged 11-17 years old. The parent and teacher versions can be completed by the parent or teacher of CYP aged 2-17 years old. Clinical experience indicates that the SDQ may be appropriate to use with CYP with mild learning difficulties, but not with more severe learning difficulties (Law & Wolpert, 2014).


GBO's (Goal Based Outcomes)

Goal Based Outcomes are a way of evaluating progress towards a goal in clinical work with children, young people, and their families and carers. GBOs compare how far a child or young person feels they have moved towards reaching a goal that they have set for themselves at the beginning of an intervention.