Higher CES-DC scores indicate increasing levels of depression. Weissman et al. (1980), the developers of the CES-DC, have used the cutoff score of 15 as being suggestive of depressive symptoms in children and adolescents.
Weissman MM, Orvaschel H, Padian N: Children’s symptom and social functioning self-report scales: Comparison of mothers’ and children’s reports. Journal of Nervous Mental Disorders 168(12):736–740; 1980.
Faulstich ME, Carey MP, Ruggiero L, et al.: Assessment of depression in childhood and adolescence: An evaluation of the Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale for Children (CES-DCAmerican Journal of Psychiatry143(8):1024–1027; 1986.