The children’s services interview: validity and reliability



The Children Service Interview was designed as a brief measure of service use related to mental health problems in Great Britain.


We validated the Children’s Services Interview against medical records from a sample of 87 children, and assessed test–retest reliability from 25 parents completing two interviews. We examined criterion validity by looking at the service use patterns of children attending clinics for different types of disorders.


The Children’s Services Interview showed high levels of face validity and moderate or better concordance with medical records as far as contacts were recorded in the case notes. Test–retest reliability was moderate or better apart from contacts with the voluntary sector, teachers, and the number and duration of appointments with some professionals.


The study suggests the Children’s Services Interview can extract moderately valid and reliable data on service use.

Declaration of interest

Tamsin Ford was supported by a Wellcome Clinical Training Fellowship in Health Services Research while completing this work.

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Child and Adolescent Assessment


Service Assessment for Children and Adolescents


Services for Children and Adolescents – Parent Interview


Children’s version of the Client Services Receipt Inventory


Trial Multi-site Treatment for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Trial


Intraclass correlation coefficient


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Correspondence to Tamsin Ford.




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Ford, T., Hamilton, H., Dosani, S. et al. The children’s services interview: validity and reliability. Soc Psychiat Epidemiol 42, 36–49 (2007).

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Key words

  • child mental health
  • service use
  • validity
  • reliability