Step Two of the DECA Program involves assessing each child in the classroom with the use of the Devereux Early Childhood Assessment (DECA).
- The DECA is a strength-based assessment of protective factors in preschool aged children ages 2-5, which also contains a screener for behavioral concerns. The DECA is standardized, norm-referenced, valid, and reliable.
- After an observation period of at least four weeks, the DECA is completed by BOTH a parent and a teacher using either the paper version in English or Spanish, or the on-line version called the e-DECA (also available in English and Spanish). It is recommended that the assessment be completed a minimum of twice a program year to measure progress and outcomes for the child.
- The DECA contains 37 items comprising the scales of Initiative, Self-control, Attachment, and Behavioral Concerns. It contains 27 items worded in strength-based language, focusing on the positive social/emotional skills of the child. Ten items comprise a Behavioral Concern screener which includes both internalizing and externalizing types of behaviors seen in some young children.