Strengths & Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ's)

The SDQ helps parents, carers, schools, young people and workers share their ideas about where the young person thrives and which areas they find a challenge. The tool can also be used to screen the young person's mental well-being.

All children in care aged between 4 and 16 should have a Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) completed as they enter the care system. This then provides a baseline assessment of the child's emotional and behavioural well being.

This exercise is then repeated annually, with SDQ's being completed about them and by them.

Consequently there are versions for child / young person (if aged 11-16) to complete, the parent / carer to complete and the child's school to complete.

Within the form there are five separate sub scales which consider emotional problems, conduct and behaviour problems, inattention / hyperactivity, relationship with peers and pro-social behaviour. The answers to the questions in the form are scored and the total scores for each scale can then indicate whether services are required and what form they should take.

At the bottom of the page you will find links to each of the forms, with different sets depending on the age of the child. More information on SDQ's can be found at


Scoring the SDQ's


There are two ways of scoring SDQ's, either by entering the data into the online form found at (which will then give you an instant report designed for professionals), or using the paper forms, templates of which are found at the bottom of the page with guidance. When completed the scores must be inputted correctly onto the ICS computer system on the child's file. The scoring should be discussed with the team manager in order to ensure that services, if needed, can be provided.



Recording SDQ scores


Once you the SDQ's are completed and scored, they need to be recorded. ***Detail required around process for this***





Responsible person



Relevant SDQ forms issued to the parents and/or carer and relevant teacher for completion

Social worker

On placement


If child aged 11-16 relevant SDQ form explained to them and then given to them for completion

Social worker

On placement


All SDQ forms returned to social worker


Within 5 working days of forms being given out


SDQ's scored either online or manually.

Social worker

Within 10 working days of forms being returned


SDQ's entered onto recording system

Social worker / Business Support

Once scored


Actions 1 to 5 repeated on anniversary of child becoming looked after