Each year in the U.S. more than 130,000 children are hospitalized for psychiatric reasons. The decision to hospitalize a child is based on a complex set of factors. In this study, a 12-item checklist of criteria for hospitalization adapted by the authors was tested for its ability to predict hospitalization in a cohort of 389 children between the ages of two and 12 who were evaluated for either inpatient or outpatient treatment. Eighty-seven (22 percent) of the children were subsequently hospitalized. In 95 percent of the cases, the checklist was able to correctly predict whether the patient was hospitalized. A shorter checklist of six items was also able to predict the subsequent form of treatment in 95 percent of the cases. Although such checklists cannot take the place of informed clinical decisions, they can serve as a guide to decision making, especially for inexperienced mental health workers, and as a tool for utilization review when treatment decisions are questioned.