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CAPA encourages early face-to-face contact, family/whānau involvement and client self-determination. This early (or first) face-to-face contact with the service is called the Choice Appointment. This section aims to clarify the intent and necessary steps of a Choice Appointment; provide resources and support the learning of core skills and knowledge required to undertake a Choice Appointment.

PDF Guidelines for Choice 

Choice Templates

These templates have been developed to enhance the service experience. The templates have been designed to encourage clinicians to move away from traditional letter writing post Choice appointment.

Currently we have two versions available – we welcome your feedback on these.

How do these templates work? 

  • Templates have been designed to be populated during the Choice appointment. 
  • At the conclusion of Choice, the populated template is then photocopied, one copy for your records, additional copies for referrers, the original to the young person and family/whānau to take away.

The benefits of using Choice templates

  • Less time spent doing admin – information is captured during the Choice appointment 
  • Less medical jargon – medical jargon can be confusing for families to understand 
  • Referrers often don’t have time to absorb vast amounts of content - the template helps to stick to the most important matters
  • Empowerment of the young person and family/whānau
  • Reduced risk of young person and family/whānau disconnecting from the process  
  • Less opportunity for information to be lost or misinterpreted in translation 

PDF Choice Appointment Form

PDF Choice Appointment Summary

These templates can be edited to suit individual service requirements – for further information on this please contact the CAPA Project Manager.

SACS ABC and CAPA - Substances and Choices Scale (SACS ABC) as part of Choice. 

    • As part of the Choice appointment, every young person aged 13 and above is required to have the SACS screening tool completed. 
    • Completing the SACS screening tool assists with understanding the young person’s AOD use. The results are then able to be factored into their treatment plan, Partnership and determine whether there is a need for referral to specialist AOD service.  
    • SACS helps to ensure that ‘any door is the right door’ for young people accessing treatment for substance use issues. 

    What is SACS? 

    • A one-page self-report questionnaire you do with a young person. 
    • Designed and tested in kiwi youth 
    • Screens AOD use and related harms, problems and risks 
    • Engages young people to think & talk about their substance use 
    • Scores the young person's responses to let them & you know where they sit compared to other kiwi youth. 
    • Designed to aid in the provision of feedback, brief AOD advice and referring on when warranted 
    • Increases engagement in referral vs screening alone 

    What is the SACS ABC approach? 

    SACS has been adapted specifically for brevity and to align with the well-known ABC approach for smoking cessation and alcohol. Based on The SACS Brief Intervention (see The resources incorporate the Substances and Choices Scale (SACS), a youth AOD (alcohol and other drug) screening instrument developed and tested in New Zealand (Christie et al., 2007). SAC ABC is a resource for youth mental health and addiction workers, designed and promoted by the Werry Workforce Whāraurau (Christie, 2010).  

    A: Ask – Administer SACS Screening, review and score 
    B: Brief Advice – Deliver Feedback and brief advice 
    C: Counselling – Referral for Counselling /Treatment 

    A simple and effective easy memory aid to screen youth for problematic AOD use and provide brief personally-relevant AOD interventions 

    Benefits of using SACS screening tool in Choice appointments 

    SACS aims to improve short and long term outcomes for young people with AOD problems by providing a quick and easy brief screening tool within ICAMHS. The outcome of completing the SACS screening tool can lead to the young person receiving a brief intervention, supporting a harm reduction approach and the ability to have access to the right partnership or services if needed. 

    This SACS ABC video demonstrates utilising the SACS Brief Intervention with a young person. This clip illustrates how to utilise the SACS Brief Intervention tool. It should be watched in conjunction with the resources and information available here