***11/18/2016 UPDATE***

Currently at Closing Plenary in Princeton, NJ for the 2016 TCOM Conference. Below you will see our updated CANS Core Items available. If you have any additional questions on how to implement the CORE items to your own agency/jurisdiction/state, contact April Fernando at


Every agency, jurisdiction, and, most importantly, child, is unique. This is why the CANS is adapted to meet the needs of your region. With that being said, the Communimetric approach to measurement is modular and contextual. All items are developed based on their usefulness and meaning for practitioners as they do the work of personal transformation.

Measures are designed with validity and efficiency in mind.

  • By validity we mean that they have a meaning that is readily understandable and able to be consistently described and rated. They also meaningfully relate to, or directly measure, the personally meaningful outcomes we are working to achieve with the people we serve.
  • Efficiency refers to the amount of information we collect. Because we are working towards achieving specific meaningful goals (personal transformation), the information we collect must inform the process of change. The information we collect and communicate must help us know what to act on. 

The items included in the Core Item Set represent the minimum set of information needed to facilitate personal transformation in a behavioral health context. They are the minimum set of items we need to do our work. These items also have been among the most frequently referenced in the research literature on the CANS.

The CORE includes items in the following domains and items:core

The Core Item Set is presented in the groupings or domains most typically used, which are listed alphabetically.  Despite being listed here under particular domains, the items can be moved from one domain to another. Our GOAL is to see all systems using the CORE items, and in addition, also choose to use additional items appropriate to their local populations. Other items for use must meet a set of formal criteria before they are used. They must have a commonly understood description. They must also be described in terms of action levels common to all CANS items (0, 1, 2, 3). Finally, they must be able to be scored reliably by practitioners in both testing (vignette) and practice settings.

The work we do is best done when we all work together. As such, we are developing Core Item Sets for other TCOM tools, including the CANS 0-5, CANS Trauma, Adult Needs and Strengths Assessment (ANSA), ANSA-Transition to Adulthood, Family Advocacy and Support Tool, and Crisis Assessment Tool. These common items provide us with a shared language for talking about and acting on strengths and needs.

We look forward to hearing and learning from your voice in this ongoing journey towards mutual transformation.

-John Lyons, Nate Israel, and April Fernando

The Praed Foundation 

For more information on the CANS Core Items, contact April Fernando at

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