Introducing the CANS (Child Adolescent Needs & Strength)

What is CANS?

The Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths (CANS) is a required tool to inform support and treatment planning. Foster parents are expected to complete the interview for a CANS initially, when EFC services are put into place, and then again every 6-months. The foster parent can expect to complete an hour interview with a clinician which will support understanding the child’s functioning and current level of need.

The CANS is a multi-purpose tool developed for children’s services to support decision making, including level of care and service planning, to facilitate quality improvement initiatives, and to allow for the monitoring of outcomes of services. Versions of the CANS are currently used in 50 states in child welfare, mental health, juvenile justice, and early intervention applications. 

There are four levels of each item with anchored definitions; however, these definitions are designed to translate into the following action levels (separate for needs and strengths).

More information about purpose, efficacy, and outcomes can be obtained at The John Praed Foundation website.