Screening and assessment in the youth justice system

Comprehensive Health Assessment Tool (CHAT):

A single tool for the screening of health and well-being needs for use across the youth justice system. There is one version for community settings and another for custodial settings. CHAT has been developed by the Offender Health Research Network as part of the programme of work under the Healthy children, safer communities strategy.

Assessment tools in the community

Assessment forms used in the youth justice system

Asset - assess the risks and needs of a young person when they first come into contact with a youth offending team

Onset - to assess young people deemed to be at particular risk of offending for the first time

SIFA and SQIFA - specific screening and assessment tools to assess a young person’s mental-health needs, depending on the result of the Asset assessment.

SIFA - mental health screening interview for adolescents

SQUIFA - mental health screening questionnaire interview for adolescents

Find out more about Asset, Onset, SIFA and SQUIFA, on the Assessment page of the Ministry of Justice website.

A number of youth offending teams (YOTs) have developed their own tools:
Asset and Onset were designed specifically to assess risk in relation to offending and to measure progress in preventing re-offending.  Whilst they include sections on physical, emotional and mental health, and substance misuse, their focus is on the extent to which these health needs are associated with the likelihood of further offending. As a result physical health problems are often overlooked and hidden disabilities such as speech and language difficulties lack understanding. 

Assessment tools in custody

In custody, a range of assessment tools are used including detailed screening and assessment tools for the identification of health needs. Some have been developed by individual establishments and others have been tested in different establishments and regions.

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