SACA-Not So Brief

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.


Beginning in year 9, SACA-Not So Brief was created by the Fast Track Project which was based on the original SACA. This version asks the parent a maximum of 154 questions that cover 16 categories of service use as well as police contact. As with the original SACA, parents are asked a minimum of one question per category and answer more detailed questions if they indicate that their child had used a particular service-type. Follow-up questions within a category are similar to the original SACA (e.g., extent of service use in the past year, amount of money spent on services, payment sources, etc.).
One distinction between this new version and the original version of the SACA is that service-use is recorded regardless of whether the child was seen for emotional/behavioral problems. Within each general health-type service category (e.g., emergency room or family doctor), parents report whether the child‟s visit was for emotional/behavioral reasons or for general health reasons.

Inpatient service providers include:

    1. Psychiatric hospital
    2. General hospital
    3. Residential treatment center
    4. Group home
    5. Foster home
    6. Emergency shelter
    7. Overnight stay in other facility

Outpatient service providers include:

    1. Mental health center
    2. Day treatment or partial hospitalization
    3. Drug and alcohol clinic
    4. In-home therapists or family preservation workers
    5. Respite care
    6. Counselors and therapists
    7. Counseling in school
    8. Emergency room
    9. Pediatrician or family doctor

This new version of the SACA also asks more detailed questions about police contact, including the number of arrests in past 12 months, the number of non-arrest police contacts, the amount of time spent in detention facilities before trial, the number of court appearances, outcomes from court appearances, and the offenses for which the child was adjudicated.

Six dichotomous scales were derived for this measure.

  • Any Inpatient Services for Any Reason Ever
  • Any Inpatient Services for Any Reason Last Year
  • Any Inpatient Services for Mental Health Reasons Last Year
  • Any Outpatient Services for Any Reason Ever
  • Any Outpatient Services for Any Reason Last Year
  • Any Outpatient Services for Mental Health Reasons Last Year

The SACA Not So Brief provides general information about mental health service use. In addition to measuring lifetime service use, it also solicits more detailed information regarding recent service use (i.e., past 12 months). Analysts can examine group differences in degree and pattern of mental health service use as well as examine the relationship between characteristics of service use with predictors from other instruments.

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 number of participants who report not receiving any services (i.e., zeros), so examination of individual response distributions is highly advised.

Dataset Names

Raw Dataset Name: PxAD
Scored Dataset Name: MHNySPc


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