B4 School Report: A Critique of a Child Health Screening and Intervention Programme

In 2009 a pre-school health screening program was introduced in New Zealand, for near-universal roll-out across the entire age-group, entitled B4 School Check. Most of its components raise few issues although some problems are emerging. A somewhat unprecedented component of B4 School is the use of the “Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire” (SDQ) to screen for behavioural and emotional problems in four-to-five year-olds. This document “B4 School Report“, is a critique of this section of B4 School. Many questions are raised, on its adherence to Ministry of Health guidelines for health screening, its underlying intentions (with indications of a hidden agenda related to the Drivers of Crime initiative of a former government), its style and detailed methods of implementation, whether adequate intervention could ever be delivered to all youngsters found to have problems, neglect of the broader social roots of unruly behaviour in youngsters, with questions also raised about the real objective of the data collection. POSTED 6.12.2013. B4School Report-final