Functional Assessments

Functional assessments are tools that measure multiple aspects of a child’s social-emotional functioning, accounting for the major domains of well-being.  These tools capture the child’s issues and challenges as well as strengths, skills, and capacities.  Some functional assessments also capture parenting capacities and changes over time.  One of the distinctions between traditional child welfare assessments and functional assessments is that functional assessments provide a more holistic approach by measuring a wide array of competencies that contribute to well-being rather than just one aspect of well-being.

Functional assessments, if administered at periodic intervals, provide a way to track progress toward the healing of social and emotional well-being issues.  This makes the use of functional assessments a key component of promoting social and emotional well-being for maltreated children, because they can help agency decision-makers at all levels determine the appropriateness of services and identify the most effective interventions for children.

The following are examples of functional assessments with brief descriptions and links to resources for further reading.

Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL)

The Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL) for Ages 6-18 (CBCL/6-18) is a standardized measure based on national norms.  The CBCL/6-18 provides ratings for 20 competence and 120 problem items paralleling the Youth Self-Report (YSR) and the Teacher’s Report Form (TRF).  The CBCL/6-18 includes open-ended items covering physical problems, concerns, and strengths.  The CBCL/6-18 yields scores on internalizing, externalizing, and total problems as well as scores on DSM-IV related scales.

More information on this assessment and how to obtain copies is found at the Achenbach System of Empirically Based Assessment website:

Social Skills Rating System (SSRS)

The Social Skills Rating System (SSRS) includes three behavior rating forms; a teacher, a parent, and a student version.  This rating scale allows teachers to rate the occurrence and importance of specific social skills, problem behaviors, and academic competence.  Students third grade and above rate their own social skills, and parents rate social skills and problem behaviors.

For more information on this tool, the developers, and instructions on how to order manuals/forms, go to:

Emotional Quotient Inventory Youth Version (EQ-i:YV)

The Emotional Quotient Inventory Youth Version (EQ-i:YV) is a self-report instrument designed to measure emotionally and socially intelligent behavior in children and adolescents 7 to 18 years of age.  The EQ-i:YV is based on the Bar-On conceptual model of emotional-social intelligence.  It consists of 60 items that are distributed across the following 7 scales:

  • Intrapersonal
  • Interpersonal
  • Stress management
  • Adaptability
  • General mood
  • Positive impression
  • Inconsistency index

For more information on the Bar-on Model of Emotional Intelligence, go to