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We examined the use of a staff-completed measure, the Health of the Nation Outcome Scales for Children and Adolescents (HoNOSCA), to record mental health problems in adolescents in local authority secure accommodation. It proved possible to train staff and implement completion of the HoNOSCA on 64 consecutive admissions. Interrater reliability was high. The HoNOSCA identified high levels of psychological problems on admission (mean 18.5, s.d.=5.5). Follow-up HoNOSCA ratings proved sensitive to change; however, correlation between HoNOSCA and adolescent-completed questionnaires was poor. We concluded that HoNOSCA can be helpful in documenting mental health problems among young people admitted to secure local authority units.
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