OBJECTIVE: To determine the validity of the Pediatric Symptom Checklist (PSC), a brief measure of psychosocial health, for screening HIV+ Batswana children. METHOD: Setswana versions of the parent and child PSC were administered to 509 HIV+ Batswana children (age 8-16) and their parents/guardians. Test properties were evaluated and cut-off scores were derived using receiver operating characteristic curve analysis. Scores on the parent-completed PSC and the child-completed PSC-Y were compared to parental and clinic staff reports of concern about the child's psychosocial health and to scores on the Children's Depression Inventory and the Revised Children's Manifest Anxiety Scale. RESULTS: The Setswana PSC has high internal consistency (Cronbach's alpha 0.87 for the parent-completed version). Comparing PSC scores to parental reports of concern and child-reported depression symptoms, a cut-off score of 20 on the PSC and PSC-Y maximised the sensitivity and specificity. CONCLUSIONS: The PSC performed well in Setswana-speaking children and is a promising screening tool for paediatric psychosocial problems in busy clinical settings. Screening with the PSC may allow for early detection and treatment of psychosocial problems. This is likely to be of particular value for HIV+ children for whom HIV treatment non-adherence may result from untreated psychosocial dysfunction.