Professionals and practitioners use the eight indicators to assess a child or young person's overall wellbeing and identify any concerns. The indicators offer a consistent approach and language that can be used across organisational and geographical boundaries.
Most practitioners and professionals say that when they are actually using the indicators, they tend to break them down into much more specific needs and concerns.
For example, 'healthy' covers both physical and mental well-being. It might be about getting the right treatment for a child who is physically ill or injured, or about making sure they have access to medical screenings, immunisations and dental care.
But equally, 'healthy' covers behavioural problems, depression, stress, anxiety, separation and bereavement as well as difficulties children can have as a result of poor parental attachment. And it is about support and care for children with disabilities, disorders, life-long conditions and terminal illnesses. It also relates to nutrition, diet, exercise, sexual health and the choices young people make about drugs, alcohol, tobacco, solvents and other harmful substances.
As another example, a 'responsible' child, ready to start primary school, would be able to follow simple rules and instructions, and to play and work co-operatively with other children. An older child would attend school regularly, show concern and compassion for others, and show respect for others' possessions.