Background: Outcome measurement in child and adolescent mental health services in New Zealand became mandatory in 2005 and little is known about how this is perceived by service users.
Aims: This study aimed to ascertain what service users think about routine outcome measurement in child and adolescent mental health services.
Method: Nine semi-structured focus groups of child and adolescent service users (n=34) and family members (n=21) were held in different sites in New Zealand to determine their views on outcome measures.
Results: Consumers supported outcome assessment with some provisos that have important implications for clinical services: the method of collecting information is critical to acceptance; assessment should be done in the context of an established relationship with the clinician; care is needed over the timing and context of assessment, access to information and feedback of results; and measures should be brief and holistic and their limitations recognised.
Conclusion: Service users support outcome measures but their implementation requires care and consultation.
Keywords: Children; adolescents; consumers; mental health; mental health services; routine outcome measurement.