SACA for Kids

Services Assessment for Children and Adolescents (SACA-C). This computerized interview is a revised version of the Service Assessment for Children and Adolescents (SACA; Stiffman et al., 2000). This measure was developed by the team of researchers in the UNOCCAP Project for NIMH. It assesses the frequency, duration, type, and cost of mental health and social services associated with the child's behavior, substance abuse, and delinquency. It has been adapted to also include school-based and court services.

Abstract: The SACA for Kids is an extremely limited version of the original SACA (Stiffman et al., 2000). It collects self-reported information on the use of mental health services in the past 2 years. If the youth endorses receiving services, the measure collects the facility name, city and state. The services included are:

  • Inpatient care for emotional, behavioral, or drug or alcohol problems
  • Outpatient care for emotional, behavioral, or drug or alcohol problems
  • Special education services at school
  • Foster care
  • Preservation services or other services delivered to families
In addition, the measure asks whether youth ever had any police or court contact. If yes, respondents are asked their age at first contact and more detailed questions about police/court contact in the past 12 months. The additional questions gather information on the following:
  • Number of arrests
  • Number of non-arrest police contacts
  • Time spent in jail prior to trial or release
  • Number of court appearances
  • Number of conviction Offenses for which convicted Length of sentence in detention facilities and the names of those facilities
In addition to service use, the measure also collects data on health care coverage, police/court contact, prescription drug use for mental health reasons, and special education services if youth attended secondary school in the past 2 years. The health insurance coverage section asks whether the young adult currently has health insurance. If yes, the young adult is asked how long he/she has had coverage and the source of coverage. If no, the measure inquires about the length of time since he/she had coverage. All respondents are asked if they have ever been without insurance in past 2 years. The prescription drug section asks whether youth received a written prescription for medication for mental health reasons in the past 2 years. If yes, the youth is asked more detailed questions about prescriptions for different mental health conditions (e.g., when medication was first prescribed, whether the youth filled the prescription, and when the youth stopped taking the medication). The measure asks about prescriptions for the following problems:
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Anger
  • ADHD
  • Medications for other emotional, behavioral or substance abuse problems.
If youth attended secondary school in the past 2 years, he/she is asked a series of questions about special education services received including:
  • Whether any services were received
  • Whether the youth had a IEP
  • Special education classification
  • Whether he/she attended special school
  • Whether he/she was referred to additional services
No scales were derived for this instrument. The SACA for Kids provides basic service use information but little detailed information about the services used. In addition, the service use questions ask about past 2 years rather than past 12 months. Slightly more detailed information is available regarding contact with police and the court system. Analysts should examine how many participants positively endorsed receiving services before generating descriptive statistics or using outcomes in statistical models. In general, most items will have a high frequency of participants who report not receiving any services (i.e., zeros), so examination of individual response distributions is highly advised.

Who Completed this Measure?: Target Child/Youth (now in adulthood)

Cohort 1 - Administrative History

  • Year 11 | grade 10 | age 16
  • Year 12 | grade 11 | age 17
  • Year 13 | grade 12 | age 18

Cohort 2 - Administrative History

  • Year 11 | grade 10 | age 16
  • Year 12 | grade 11 | age 17
  • Year 13 | grade 12 | age 18

Cohort 3 - Administrative History

  • Year 11 | grade 10 | age 16
  • Year 12 | grade 11 | age 17
  • Year 13 | grade 12 | age 18

Technical Reports:

Raw Dataset Name: CxBB

Scored Dataset Name: MHKySCc

Arrest, Foster Care, Hospitalization, Illegal Activities, In-School Services, Incarceration, Inpatient, Jail, Mental Health Services, Outpatient, Special Education

Is this Measure Available for Public Use?: No

Obtain Measure:

Arlene R. Stiffman, Ph.D.
Barbara A. Bailey Professor of Social Work
Washington University
Phone: (314) 935-6685