Before a child starts to receive treatment at a Children's Mental Health Centre, his or her parent will likely be asked to do a Brief Child and Family Phone Interview (BCFPI). The parent will be asked a number of questions about his or her child by a trained mental health professional such as the following:
- "Do you find that Johnny blames others for his own mistakes?"
- "Do you find that Mary is overly anxious to please people?"
- "How much has Sam withdrawn or isolated him/herself as a result of these problems?"
This interview can usually be done over the phone and lasts anywhere from 20-40 minutes. The interviewer enters each answer into a computer program which saves and scores the responses. The parent's answers are compared to those for a 'typical child', and ranked in areas such as Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), Anxiety or Depression. These data are then used by a trained mental health professional in deciding what type of treatment a child might need.
All of the information gathered during the interview is confidential and cannot be shared with anyone outside the centre without explicit written permission from the family.