Department of Special Education and Communication Disorders


Date of this Version



Child Youth Care Forum. 2015 April 1; 44(2): 239–249.


© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014. Used by permission.


BACKGROUND—There is a need for brief progress monitoring measures of behavioral and emotional symptoms for youth in out-of-home care. The Symptoms and Functioning Severity Scale (SFSS; Bickman et al., 2010) is one measure that has clinician and youth short forms (SFSS-SFs); however, the psychometric soundness of the SFSS-SFs with youth in out-of-home care has yet to be examined.

OBJECTIVE—The objective was to determine if the psychometric characteristics of the clinician and youth SFSS-SFs are viable for use in out-of-home care programs.

METHODS—The participants included 143 youth receiving residential treatment and 52 direct care residential staff. The current study assessed internal consistency and alternate forms reliability for SFSS-SFs for youth in a residential care setting. Further, a binary classification test was completed to determine if the SFSS-SFs similarly classified youth as the SFSS full version for low- and elevated-severity.

RESULTS—The internal consistency for the clinician and youth SFSS-SFs was adequate (α = .75 to .82) as was the parallel forms reliability (r = .85 to .97). The sensitivity (0.80 to 0.95), specificity (0.88 to 0.97), and overall accuracy (0.89 to 0.93) for differentiating low and elevated symptom severity was acceptable.

CONCLUSIONS—The clinician and youth SFSS-SFs have acceptable psychometrics and may be beneficial for progress monitoring and additional research should clarify their potential for progress monitoring of youth in out-of-home programs.