Social Needs Screening Tools Comparison Table (Pediatric Settings)

The SIREN team has compiled the content of several of the most widely used social health screening tools so that they can be easily compared. The table below summarizes characteristics for each tool, including their intended population or setting, the social health domains they cover, and the number of questions covering each domain. To view a specific screening tool in its entirety, click on the column heading. To compare questions used in different tools for the same domain, click on the row heading. Links inside the table cells will take you directly to the text of those specific questions.

The below table covers screening tools developed specifically for pediatric settings; to see our table comparing social needs screening tools for older adults or are non-age specific click here.

A note on validity: Inclusion of a tool below does not necessarily mean that the tool or the questions contained therein has been “validated”. While some questions and tools have been developed more rigorously than others and have some early evidence of validity,1-4 validity has many different dimensions (e.g., criterion validity [predictive, convergent], construct [structural]), and none of the tools below has been vetted through all steps of gold standard measure development or had all types of validity assessed. As data about tool validation become available, we will include them in the table below.

If you would like to suggest a tool for inclusion in this table, please contact us.

Download the table (combining adult and pediatric tools) as an Excel file

  # of Social Needs Questions 14 9 9 6 - 15
  # of Non-Social Needs Questions 0 11 24 or 35 0
  Patient or Clinic Population Peds Peds Peds Peds
  Reading Level* 7th grade 4th-5th grade 10th grade 9th grade
  Completion Time NR NR 10 mins <5 min
  Languages   Spanish, Chinese, Swedish, Vietnamese Spanish, Burmese, Nepali, Portuguese, Arabic  
  Scoring N N N N
  Cost   Free   Free   Free   Free
  Caregiver Responsibilities        
  Childcare Access & Affordability       2
  Civic Engagement        
  Education 1     2
  Employment       2
  Financial Strain 1      
  Food Insecurity 3 2 1 2
  Health Care/Medicine Access & Affordability 1      
  Housing Insecurity/Instability/Homelessness 2     3
  Housing Quality 1      
  Immigration/Migrant Status/Refugee Status 2      
  Interpersonal Violence (IPV) 1 3 2  
  Neighborhood Safety        
  Power of Attorney/Guardianship 3      
  Social Support   1    
  Stress   1    
  Utilities       3
  Veteran Status        
  Desire for Assistance/Urgent Needs Integrated into "immigration"; see domain-specific questions 1     Asked for each domain; see domain-specific questions
  Health Behaviors/Behavioral Health/Health Status   AA, MH, SA, TH AA, DH, MH, SA, TH AA, MH, SA, TU
*Reading level assessed using
AU: Alcohol Abuse; DH: Developmental Health; DP: Dietary Pattern; DU: Drug Use; HC: Health Confidence; HS: Health/functional status; MH: Mental Health (including depression); PA: Physical Activity; TU: Tobacco Use
NS = Non-Specified; NR = Not Reported; AU = Alcohol Abuse, DP = Dietary Pattern; DU = Drug Use; HC = Health Confidence; HS = Health/functional status; MH = Mental Health (including depression), PA = Physical Activity, TU = Tobacco Use
1. Hager ER, Quigg AM, Black MM, et al. Development and validity of a 2-item screen to identify families at risk for food insecurity. Pediatrics. 2010;126(1):e26-32.
2. Baer TE, Scherer EA, Fleegler EW, Hassan A. Food insecurity and the burden of health-related social problems in an urban youth population. J Adolesc Health. 2015;57(6):601-607.
3. Gundersen C, Engelhard EE, Crumbaugh AS, Seligman HK. Brief assessment of food insecurity accurately identifies high-risk us adults. Public Health Nutr. 2017;20(8):1367-1371.
4. Institute of Medicine of the National Academies Committee on the Recommended Social and Behavioral Domains and Measures for Electronic Health Records. Capturing social and behavioral domains in electronic health records: Phase 2. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press; 2014.