The Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths (CANS) assessment tool was designed to assist providers in child welfare, mental health, juvenile justice, and early intervention in identifying both the needs and strengths of children. The CANS improves a providers ability to create personalized treatment plans and aid in monitoring the effectiveness and outcomes of services.

The Six Key Principles of CANS:

1. Items were selected because they are each relevant to service/treatment planning.
2. Each item uses a 4-level rating system that translates into action.
3. Rating should describe the child, not the child in services.
4. Culture and development should be considered prior to establishing the action levels.
5. The ratings are generally “agnostic as to etiology,” meaning it focuses on what the problem is, not the why.
6. A 30 day window is used for ratings in order to make sure assessments stay relevant to the child’s present circumstances.

The CANS focuses on the following domains to determine the needs of the child:

  1. Strengths
  2. Life Functioning
  3. Behavioral/Emotional Needs
  4. Risk Behaviors
  5. Early Childhood
  6. Cultural Factors
  7. Potentially Traumatic Adverse Childhood Experiences
  8. Caregiver Resources and Needs

Interested in getting your child the Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths (CANS) assessment tool?  Click HERE

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