CANS Assessment: Overview of Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths

Photo Credit: istockphoto

Knowing how CANS assessment works won’t be a bad idea. In fact, understanding how you can access Texas CANS assessment training, certification, and scoring will serve you real good. Don’t you think so?

Interestingly, we have seen a lot of folks commend those who work alongside CANS to ensure that we get the best of this tool.

Unquestionably, the CANS is a superb open-source tool for use in a variety of child-serving systems that concentrate on the needs and resources of children, teenagers, and their families.

That said, if you would like to know more about CANS assessment, then do have a great read cos we have provided you with all you need to know about this amazing tool.

This is a great read: RBT Competency Assessment: Requirement and Free Practice

What is CANS Assessment / Tool?

The Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths (CANS) assessment is a multipurpose information integration tool that intends to be the result of an assessment procedure.

Well, CANS exists to properly express the singular vision of the child/youth service system for children, youth, and families.

In contrast, to enable the efficient communication of this common vision at all levels of the system, you have to complete the CANS assessment.

In light of this, because communication is its primary objective, you can create CANS using communication theory rather than the psychometric ideas that have guided most assessment development.

This might interest you: NJSLA Practice Test 2022: Tips For Exam Prep & Practice Questions (2022)

History of CANS

John Lyons’ work in modeling decision-making for psychiatric care inspired the Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths (CANS).

However, the essence of the Childhood Severity of Psychiatric Illness (CSPI) measure is to determine the appropriate use of psychiatric hospitals and residential treatment services.

In fact, this measure, which constitutes the cornerstone of the CANS, examines those elements critical to excellent clinical decision-making for intense mental health treatment interventions.

Furthermore, the CSPI instrument showed its effectiveness in supporting residential treatment decision-making and quality improvement in crisis assessment services.

Indeed, the virtue of this assessment technique is that it is face valid and simple to administer while providing full clinical status information.

Those who read this, find this helpful: Executive Assessment Test: Questions, Answers, and How to Use It?

Overview of Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths

The CANS collects information on the needs and strengths of the child/youth and the parents/caregivers.

While strengths are the child/assets: youth’s areas of their life in which they excel or have an interest or talent. Needs are areas where a kid or youth requires assistance or intervention.

The CANS also assists care professionals in determining which of a child/youth’s requirements are the most critical to address in action planning. They also assist in identifying strengths. This helps to develop a treatment or service plan.

Furthermore, the CANS comprises domains that focus on different aspects of a child’s or adolescent’s life, and each domain comprises a number of particular items.

Although, the CANS ratings, do not reflect the entire picture of a child’s or youth’s strengths and requirements. Each section of the CANS is simply the result of a thorough evaluation procedure.

What Are 6 Key Components Of CANS?

The six key components that help us understand the CANS include the following:

  1. Items are chosen because they all relate to action planning. In fact, an item exists because it may lead you down a different path when it comes to action planning.
  2. Each item is rated on a four-point scale that translates into action. Well, there are many degrees of activity for different demands and strengths.
  3. The rating should define the child/youth, not the child/youth in services. If an act is present that is hiding a need but must remain in place, this should be considered in the rating process, resulting in a rating of an “actionable” need.
  4. Before deciding on an action level, consider culture and growth.
  5. CANS is a descriptive tool; it focuses on the “what” rather than the “why.” See individual item descriptions for further information on when the “why” is taken into account when rating these items.
  6. Ratings are given a 30-day interval to ensure that assessments remain relevant to the child/current youth’s situation.

This is also a good read: Volhard Puppy Aptitude Test | Sample Test Score Sheet

Are There Ways You Can Use CANS Assessment Tool?

Yes, the CANS assessment tool is a multipurpose tool that is used in a number of ways to improve our activities and enrich the lives of children, teenagers, and their families.

To illustrate, you will find below, different ways you can CANS assessment tool:

As an assessment strategy

CANS can be used as a form of assessment. Most items in CANS contain “Questions to Consider,” which can be helpful for getting information about needs and strengths. These are not compulsory questions, but they are accessible as options.

However, when first meeting with clients and their carers, this guidance can be useful in ensuring that you obtain all necessary information.

You might want to know: Lehigh County Assessment: All You Need to Know

As a guide of care and action planning

CANS alerts you when a customer has a critical need that needs treatment.

Of course, you’ll only know this if an item on the CANS is rated a ‘2’ or a ‘3’ (‘action required’ or ‘urgent action required’).

As a result, while developing an action plan, you should try your best to address any needs, impacts on functioning, or risk factors that you grade as a 2 or higher in that document.

This might interest you: Neurovascular Assessment; Clinical Guide, Sample Chart and PDF

CANS Facilitates outcome measurement

CANS make it easier to measure outcomes. This is due to the fact that the CANS is frequently performed every 6 months to monitor change and transformation.

Although, demands may change as a result of a variety of reasons, including the level of healthcare assistance offered.

Reassessing needs, changing treatment or service plans, and recording changes are among the ways CANS might verify if their supports restore function.

As a communication tool

CANS provide a common language for discussing children and youth, as well as opportunity for collaboration.

However, when a client leaves a treatment program, a closing CANS may be done to define progress, quantify ongoing needs, and assist us in making choices about continuity of care.

Read also: FBI Phase 1 Practice Test: Learn How it Works with Free Online Practice Questions |2022

Who Can Give a CANS Assessment in Texas?

A qualified, CANS-certified star health provider administers Cans assessment in Texas.

However, a CANS-certified provider working with the child placement agency can provide assessments for children placed in the Region 3B Community-Based Care catchment region.

Meanwhile, the CANS assessment in Texas is easy to learn and well-liked by beneficiaries, family members, providers, and other support system partners since it is simple to understand and a collaborative tool.

In reality, the CANS operates in such a manner that each item offers a specific option for recovery treatment.

Those who read this also read: EEI CAST Test: Learn How it Works with Free Online Practice Questions (2022)

What is CANS Assessment Scoring?

CANS assessment scoring consists of four levels, one for each item in the CANS assessment. This level has anchored definitions.

These concepts, however, are intended to convert into the following action levels and be scored accordingly (separate for needs and strengths).

To illustrate, CANS assessment scoring is outlined below:

For strength:
0 = Centerpiece strength
1 = Planning strength, this implies a good strength 
2 = Identified strength must be built, this means that a child may have the potential for strength
3 = No identified strengths

For need:
0 = There is no proof.
1 = Wary anticipation/prevention. 2 = Action. This means that this is a need for the youth/family or a need that continues to involve intervention. 
3 = Prompt/Intense Action. This is an urgent need for the youth/family that must be met right away.

Check out: Hexaco Personality Test: Format, Tips & How Best To Prepare

CANS Assessment Training

CANS training is intended for clinicians at various levels of care who will be conducting behavioral health assessments on Mass Health children and youth under the age of 21.

In order, to provide behavioral health assessments to Mass Health children and youth under the age of 21, these clinicians must complete this training and certification.

However, to access the Massachusetts CANS online training, the Massachusetts CANS Certification Examination, and additional CANS-related information and support, you must first complete registration and successfully Login.


What is the purpose of cans?

The CANS purpose is to accurately represent the shared vision of the child and youth serving system—children, youth, and families.

The Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths (CANS) questionnaire, on the other hand, is a multipurpose information integration tool that is intended to be the result of an assessment process.

Which agencies use cans in Massachusetts?

Separate from MassHealth, the Department of Mental Health (DMH), the Department of Children and Families (DCF), and the Department of Youth Services (DYS) have adopted the MassHealth version of CANS for use in their programs.

How do I pass my cans certification?

To maximize your chances of passing the certification exam, you should take the Praed Foundation’s San Diego CANS 1.0 course.

You must, however, pass the certification exam on an annual basis with a correlation score of.7 or higher.

Can you retake the cans exam?

Users have three chances to pass the final exam and earn certification. If you fail the final test the first two times, give yourself some time before taking it again.

However, if you fail your third, you will be able to consult with Praed Foundation about your areas of need.

What does CANS assessment stand for?

CANS stands for Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths assessment


Now, that you know what CANS assessment is, and how you can access it and score it, guess you are close to going out there to get your own CAN assessment sheet.

Well, if you need more clarity or suggestion, do well to drop them in the comment section below.


  • Filler – Description of cans assessment Indiana


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You May Also Like