Designed for youth aged 5 to 19, the CAFAS is the gold standard tool for assessing a youth’s day-to-day functioning and for tracking changes in functioning over time. The CAFAS is backed by over 20 years of research supporting its validity and sensitivity to detecting change in behaviors. It is widely used to inform decisions about type and intensity of treatment, level of care, placement and need for referral.
The CAFAS can be quickly completed by a practitioner based on information from routine clinical evaluation providing a comprehensive and objective assessment focusing on observable behaviors. Widely in use across North America, over 60 papers and presentations have shown CAFAS to be the most reliable and valid instrument available for measuring outcomes. Back to the top Levels of Impairment
Within each subscale, the behavioral items are grouped by severity into four columns, using a continuum of severity of impairment. Each level of severity is associated with a score. CAFAS Subscales
The CAFAS assesses functioning across 8 critical life subscales assessing the youth as well as two scales to assess caregiver functioning. The CAFAS yields both a total score and 10 individual subscales scores. The total score represents the total level of dysfunction and can be used to recommend intensity of treatment required. The individual subscale scores can be used to inform the focus of treatment and to monitor change in behavior over time.
Using the CAFAS
- Youth Scale:
- School - Ability to function satisfactorily in a group educational environment
- Home - Willingness to observe reasonable rules and perform age appropriate tasks
- Community - Respect for the rights and property of others and conformity to laws
- Behavior Towards Others - Appropriateness of youth’s daily behavior
- Moods - Modulation of the youth’s emotional life
- Self-Harm - Ability to cope without resorting to self-harmful behavior or verbalizations
- Substance Use - Substance use and the whether it is inappropriate or disruptive
- Thinking - Ability of the youth to use rational thought processes
- Caregiver Scale:
- Material Needs - Extent to which the youth’s need for resources such as food, clothing, housing, medical attention and neighborhood safety are provided for
- Social Support - The extent to which the youth’s psychosocial needs are met by the family
For each subscale the rater reads through the items at each level starting at the Severe level until he/she finds a description of the youth. Once a description has been found the youth is assigned the item’s corresponding score for the subscale. After assigning the subscale score, the rater moves on to the next subscale.
To download a .pdf version of the CAFAS info sheet, click here
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