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About Family Check-Up

Process: Assessment

The key to understanding where to aim interventions lies in a valid and thorough assessment of the problem. The FCU’s ecological approach includes a multimethod, multirater battery of assessments that is conducted across various contexts of development, including home and school. The strengths-based assessment provides a wealth of information about child behavior, parenting skills, family dynamics, and life stressors, and it sets the stage for intervention services for caregivers. The FCU assessment includes a caregiver questionnaire, youth questionnaire (depending on the child’s age), teacher ratings of behavior at school, and a videotaped family observation task. The observation task is typically conducted in the home but can occur in a clinic, school, or community setting. Observation of family interactions is critical to understanding the relationships between family members and the family’s strengths and challenges. Contextual stressors that are known to affect healthy family management, such as parent depression and marital conflict, are also measured, and feedback to caregivers includes information about these contextual risks. Norm-referenced measurement is used in the assessment and facilitates feedback to parents about areas of strength and of risk behavior.

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