Frequently Asked Questions about the DECA Program and other DECI resources and services
Below are a sampling of our FAQs. Please visit our website for a complete list. http://www.devereuxearlychildhood.org/faqs.html

Questions

  1. Is the DECA Program available in Spanish?
  2. Will the DECA Program be translated into other languages?
  3. Does Devereux provide anything similar for zero to two-year-olds?
  4. What other projects and products are included in the Devereux Early Childhood Initiative?
  5. Is the DECA an assessment or a screener, or both?
  6. Is it appropriate to translate the DECA Record Form for parents who do not speak English or who speak limited English?
  7. Is it appropriate to read the DECA Record Form to parents who have difficulty reading?
  8. Is it acceptable to photocopy the DECA results in order to give a copy to parents?
  9. What is meant by item #17, or #2, or #7, etc... on the DECA Record Form?
  10. How long do you need to know a child before administering the DECA?
  11. Is it appropriate to use the DECA with 6-year olds?
  12. How many times per year should a program administer the DECA?
  13. When scoring the DECA, what should be done with blank items?
  14. Why aren't there different norms for different age levels?
  15. Why are there different norms for parents and teachers?
  16. Is parental consent needed in order to administer the DECA?
  17. Should the DECA results be used to refer a child for a formal evaluation?
  18. Can the DECA be used to qualify children for preschool special education services in the social/emotional category/domain?
  19. How do I obtain an information packet on the DECA Program?
  20. An Early Childhood Program has purchased (or is in the process or purchasing) the DECA Program. What DECA Program implementation trainings are available?

Answers

  1. Is the DECA Program available in Spanish?
  2. Answer
    A: The Spanish version of the DECA Record Form and For Now and Forever is available and can be ordered from the Kaplan catalogue.. Plans are in place to translate the Classroom Strategies guide and Observation Journal into Spanish as well.
  3. Will the DECA Program be translated into other languages?
  4. Answer
    A: As Devereux becomes aware of the need for DECA materials to be translated into other languages, frequent requests will be passed on to Kaplan, the publisher, for consideration. If your program has a need for mass production of the DECA and For Now and Forever parent guides to be available in other languages, please make Devereux aware by calling 1-866 TRAIN US or sending an e-mail to deca@devereux.org.
  5. Does Devereux provide anything similar for zero to two-year-olds?
  6. Answer
    A: Development of the infant/toddler version of the DECA Program is currently underway. It is a goal to develop and publish this instrument by the end of 2006. Appendix A (p.158-168) of the Classroom Strategies guide offers tips for helping infants and toddlers develop protective factors.
  7. What other projects and products are included in the Devereux Early Childhood Initiative?
  8. Answer
    - DECA-C (Clinical version): Now available - Consultation/ training packages to help a program improve its level of quality: Now available - Caring for the Children, Caring for Yourself: A resource to help adults reflect upon and improve their own protective factors: Now available - Mentoring Training on the DECA Program: Now available - Computerized scoring of the DECA Record Forms: Now available - Video for Family Child Care Providers on quality learning environments: Now available - A series of parent guides and training sessions based on For Now and Forever: (available 2005) - Infant/Toddler Assessment: (available 2005) - School-Aged Assessment: (available 2005)
  9. Is the DECA an assessment or a screener, or both?
  10. Answer
    The DECA is a Nationally standardized assessment of protective factors and a screener for behavioral concerns. The behavior rating scale includes a total of 37 items--- 27 of which assess a child's protective factors related to resilience (initiative, self-control and attachment) and 10 of which screen for behavior concerns.

    Results of assessment tools should be used to plan for positive outcomes for children or programs (NAEYC, 1987). Results of screening instruments typically indicate the need to collect additional information on the child or the skills/behaviors, sometimes indicating the need for further assessment or evaluation. Therefore, the tool is appropriate for use as a screening instrument, but in addition, provides valuable information about a child's protective factors. It is the unique aspect of assessing protective factors that makes the DECA such a strong choice for programs to use as their social/emotional screener.

    Devereux's philosophy, which is supported by resilience research, is that intervention should not be put off until a child is displaying behavioral problems, but rather, should begin if a child is showing a lack of protective factors. Resilience research points out the importance of promoting children's protective factors as a means of preventing the development of emotional/behavioral problems. Our hope is that programs will use the valuable information provided by DECA results in both the capacities of assessment and screener.

  11. Is it appropriate to translate the DECA Record Form for parents who do not speak English or who speak limited English?
  12. Answer
    A: Devereux does not recommend this practice because translators may vary in the way they phrase questions. These children should receive a teacher rating. Parent ratings obtained through a translator should be interpreted with caution. The standardized Spanish version of the DECA is available and should be used with Spanish speaking families.
  13. Is it appropriate to read the DECA Record Form to parents who have difficulty reading?
  14. Answer
    A: Yes, as long as the questions are read exactly as they are written, using a neutral tone of voice. Readers should not attempt to influence the ratings in any way.
  15. Is it acceptable to photocopy the DECA results in order to give a copy to parents?
  16. Answer
    A: As the DECA is copyrighted, it would be a violation of the copyright to photocopy the DECA. In addition, giving parents a copy of the DECA results would effect the test-retest reliability. The best ways to present results to parents are through a written summary of the child's strengths and areas for growth in both the home and classroom setting. A helpful resource to serve this purpose would be use of the "Protective Factors Observation Summary"; reproducible copies are found in the Observation Journal, p.57.
  17. What is meant by item #17, or #2, or #7, etc... on the DECA Record Form?
  18. Answer
    A: Raters should interpret each item according to their own experiences and perspectives. For example: it is likely that the word "inappropriate" has different meanings to different raters. The rating reflects the adult's perception of the child. If asked what an item on the DECA means, or should reply, “What does it mean to YOU?” And then encourage the rater to answer it according to their perception.
  19. How long do you need to know a child before administering the DECA?
  20. Answer
    A: A minimum of four weeks is necessary to get to know each child prior to completing the DECA rating.
  21. Is it appropriate to use the DECA with 6-year olds?
  22. Answer
    A: In general, if a child is five at the time of the first DECA administration, it is acceptable to administer the DECA again at mid-year and at the end-of-the-year, even if the child turns six during that time. However, do not administer the DECA to children who are already six-years old at the time of first administration. It is acceptable to use the DECA for most children in kindergarten, but not in 1st grade.

  23. How many times per year should a program administer the DECA?
  24. Answer
    A: Ideally, programs administer the DECA three times per year. This allows for periodic reviews of children's progress. Teachers can use these results to evaluate the effectiveness of strategies in supporting development of protective factors and minimizing or eliminating challenging behaviors. It is acceptable if a program prefers to administer the DECA only twice a year. The second DECA administration should be scheduled with enough time left in the program year to develop and implement plans based on the results.
  25. When scoring the DECA, what should be done with blank items?
  26. Answer
    A: Substitute the middle score, "2", for blank items. This ensures a neutral score. However, if there is more than one blank on any scale, or more than two blanks on the entire DECA Record Form, that rating should not be scored as there is too much missing information that may skew the results.
  27. Why aren't there different norms for different age levels?
  28. Answer
    A: The DECA was standardized on 2,000 children across the country. No differences were found in the scores obtained for children 2 through 5-years of age. Subsequent focus groups and data collection showed that teachers and parents tended to have significant knowledge of the developmental appropriateness of children's behaviors. They applied this knowledge to appropriately rate children of different ages.
  29. Why are there different norms for parents and teachers?
  30. Answer
    A: In the standardization sample, in general, parent ratings tended to be slightly higher than teacher ratings of the same child. Therefore, the norms for parent ratings are slightly higher than those for teacher ratings on some of the individual scales.
  31. Is parental consent needed in order to administer the DECA?
  32. Answer
    A: It is highly recommended that you seek parental permission prior to administering any form of child assessment. Often, parental consent is granted through a blanket letter at time of enrollment or at the beginning of each year which lists and describes all the assessment tools and evaluations to be conducted throughout the year. Visit our website for a sample Parental Consent Form that you can edit to meet your own program's needs.
  33. Should the DECA results be used to refer a child for a formal evaluation?
  34. Answer
    A: No assessment instrument should be used as the only criterion for referral. Although the DECA provides important referral information, multiple sources of information, including parental input, should influence the decision. A major piece of the information gathering process should be observation. For more information and guidance on using the DECA for referral purposes, please contact Devereux. For information on the DECA-C (Clinical version), contact Devereux.
  35. Can the DECA be used to qualify children for preschool special education services in the social/emotional category/domain?
  36. Answer
    A: If the district or state uses a non-categorical approach, where all that is required is a developmental delay, we believe that you can at least try to make the case that a child could qualify for special services based on low DECA Protective Factor scores. The argument would be that they are not showing the social and emotional strengths that one would expect to see. We are especially comfortable with this approach if we are qualifying kids for preventative services.

    If, however, the district uses the Part B categorical approach, we think the DECA and Protective Factor scores are irrelevant for the purpose of qualifying children for services. The IDEA legislation talks about social and emotional disorders, not a lack of Protective Factors. The Behavioral Concerns Screener also could not be used to qualify kids, because it is only a screener. Of course, any eligibility determination would have to use multiple sources of info with the DECA being just one.

    The DECA-C (Clinical version) would be the more appropriate tool to use for qualifying children for these services.

  37. How do I obtain an information packet on the DECA Program?
  38. Answer
    A: Visit our website to download a PDF version of the DECA Program Information Packet, call 1-866-TRAIN US, or contact deca@devereux.org to have one mailed to you.
  39. An Early Childhood Program has purchased (or is in the process or purchasing) the DECA Program. What DECA Program implementation trainings are available?
  40. Answer
    A: Should a program choose to implement the DECA Program, a minimum of a one-day training is suggested for staff. Training is available in several formats: 1-day implementation training, 2-day back to back implementation training, or the training may be split into two different training days separated by a few weeks. The first day covers background information and steps 1-3 of the DECA Program, the second day occurs after teachers and parents have completed steps 1-3 and are ready learn about and try steps 4-5, to plan for individuals and the group of children, and to measure outcome data. Please call or e-mail for training rates and more information: 1-866-TRAIN US, or deca@devereux.org