juvenile justice project of louisiana
1600 oretha castle Haley Blvd • new orleans, la 70113
504/522-5437 • fax 504/522-5430
client interview Questions
from the Louisiana JuveniLe DefenDer triaL Practice manuaL
Client information • Telephone numbers (or numbers of a relative or
• Name(s) (including any aliases): friend where messages can be left):
• Date of birth (“DOB”): • Place of birth:
• Description of client (race, ethnicity, age, size, hair • Marital status:
color and length, any obvious tattoos or identifying
characteristics): • Primary language:
• Place of birth: • Employer, employer address and phone number:
• Primary language: • Siblings living with father (names and ages):
• Religious affiliation: • Siblings living in area (names and ages):
• Others living with father (names and ages):
• Mother’s name: • Name of other significant adult:
• DOB/age: • Relationship to Client:
• Address: • Address:
• Telephone numbers (or numbers of a relative or • Telephone numbers (or numbers of a relative or
friend where messages can be left): friend where messages can be left):
• Place of birth: • Name of other significant adult:
• Marital status: • Relationship to Client:
• Primary language: • Address:
• Employer, employer address and phone number: • Telephone numbers (or numbers of a relative or
friend where messages can be left):
• Siblings living with mother (names and ages):
• Primary caretaker/legal guardian (if different from
• Siblings living in area (names and ages): parents):
• Others living with mother (names and ages): • Relationship to Client:
• Father’s name: • How long has s/he been the client’s guardian?
• DOB/age: • Other siblings in the home (names and ages):
• Address: • Other children in the home (names and ages):
• Others residing in the home? (names and ages): • History of suspensions and expulsions:
• Has the client been placed out of the home before? • Any suspensions or expulsions this school year? Why?
When and why?
• Any safety concerns at school, or traveling to or from
• Client’s description of home situation: school?
• What was the client’s childhood like?
employment and Community aCtivity
• Did the client participate in a Head Start or Early • Work history:
• Current employment:
friends • Employment interests:
• Does the client have close friends? How many? Who?
How old? • Volunteer involvement:
• What does the client do with friends? • Community activity or church involvement:
• Does the client’s family know the client’s friends? Why
or why not? physiCal/mental health
• Health insurance:
• Are any of the client’s friends involved with the court
system? How many? How involved? • Hospital clinic affiliation:
• Last medical/dental appointment:
• Last grade placement: • Any medical issues/needs?
• Grades completed: • History of head trauma or lead poisoning?
• Contact person/someone trusted at school: • Prescribed medications (past or present):
• Does the client have an Individualized Educational • Who prescribed medications? Name of the doctor and
Program (“IEP”)? clinic or hospital?
• When was IEP last reviewed? • Is there a family history of mental health problems/
• Are IEP services being provided (i.e., tutoring, spe-
cialized classes, counseling services, speech or other • Is there a client history of mental health problems/sub-
therapies)? stance abuse?
• ADD/ADHD diagnosis? Age diagnosed? • Is there a history of counseling (individual or family)?
• Difficulties/issues: • Is there a history of suicidal/homicidal ideation,
attempts and/or self-injurious behavior?
• Mental health diagnoses:
• Extracurricular activities at school:
• Client’s feelings about school: trauma/loss
• Has there been any significant trauma or loss in the cli-
• Client’s grades: ent’s life (e.g., loss of a family member or friend, witness
to a violent crime, separation from a close relative)?
• Does the client skip classes? How often?
juvenile justice project of louisiana • client interview questions 2
substanCe abuse • Did the client have an attorney? Does s/he remember
• Does client use any controlled substances or alcohol? the attorney’s name? Did the attorney help?
• Has substance use caused the client any problems? • Has the client ever been on probation before?
• Was the client under the influence of any substances •For each:
when arrested for this charge or any other charges?
• Does the client consider substance use to be a problem?
• For what charges?
• Have others commented or shown concern over the cli-
ent’s substance use? • What were the terms?
• Who was the probation officer?
• What are three things the client likes about him/ • Was probation revoked?
• Were there efforts to revoke?
• What are three things others like about him/her?
§ Has the client ever been placed in a group home as a
• What are some of the client’s accomplishments? result of delinquency charges?
• Name something positive about client that s/he would
like others to know: • Where?
• Describe the client’s monthly activities: • For what charges?
• What are the client’s hobbies/interests? • Has the client ever been placed in secure care?
• What does client foresee in his/her future with respect • When?
to goals and short-term/long-term plans?
legal history • Did the client get an early release?
• Has the client been to juvenile court before? Why?
• Was the client charged with any previous delinquent or
criminal acts? • Was parole ever revoked? If so, why?
• For each:
• When? • Advise the client about current charges and allegations
• For what charges?
• When did it happen?
• Which judge?
• Where did it happen?
• Was the client detained?
• Who else was present?
• What was the outcome of the case?
• What happened? (Note: It is important to ask open-
• What were the probation/secure care ended questions and follow-up questions to obtain
outcomes? detailed information about the incident.)
juvenile justice project of louisiana • client interview questions 3
• What happened afterward? (Did the client flee, walk • How often do you take the medicine?
away, get apprehended?)
• Do you ever drink alcohol? How often? How much do
• When was the first police contact? Where? Describe you drink at one time? When did you last drink?
in detail the extent of contact and interaction with the
police, as well as the circumstances of the arrest. • Do you use other illegal drugs? Which ones? How
often? How much do you use at one time? When did you
• Describe police report statements and solicit response last use drugs?
from the client regarding accuracy.
• Were there witnesses present? If so, what did they see?
• Does the client have any relationship with the victims,
co-defendants, or witnesses?
Questions geared toward assessing
• How old are you?
• When is your birthday? In what year were you born?
(Note: If the child cannot provide the year, this should
be a red flag.)
• What school do you go to?
• What grade are you in? (Consider whether the grade is
appropriate for the age of the child or whether the child
is behind in school.)
• What courses are you studying?
• Are the courses age-appropriate, or do they suggest
special education placement?
• How many days of school do you miss in an average
week? Why? How many times each week are you late for
school? (Note: Truancy may be an indicator of special
• Who are your doctors?
• How often do you see your doctor? Why?
• Have you ever talked with a therapist or psychologist?
• Have you ever been in the hospital? Why?
• Are you taking any medications? What are they? Why
are you taking them?
• How do the medications make you feel? Better? Worse?
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