The Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths (CANS) is a tool that is collaboratively completed to measure a child and family’s strengths and needs. Along with the other TCOM Tools (ANSA, FAST, SSIT, and more), they are evidence-based assessments to support decision-making, including level of care and intervention planning, facilitate quality improvement initiatives, and allows for the monitoring of clinical and functional outcomes. As a communication tool, they facilitate the linkage between the assessment process and design of individualized service plans.

Before completing a CANS for a child/youth, the individual completing the assessment needs to become certified. A reliability of .70 or above is required for general certification. This is measured by rating a mock vignette and reviewing against the recommended ratings for needs and strengths (to learn more about the vignette process, check out this post written by one of our coaches, Lynn Steiner).

If you are already certified in one of the TCOM Tools and have interest in supporting its use in your organization, you might consider becoming a coach or trainer.  To become a certified trainer in the TCOM Tools (CANS, ANSA, FAST, etc) you are required to attend an in-person Certified Trainer Training that takes a deeper dive into topics such as the key concepts of TCOM, the Communimetric principles, the FAQs of training. Following the training, attendees are required to obtain a reliability of .80 or above, write examples of the Communimetric principles, create their own vignette with ratings and rationale, develop an action plan, and prepare your own introduction to TCOM and the tools.

Other coaching and training opportunities beyond supporting your own organization may be available in your state or region.  This level of coaching and training requires additional days of intensive training, and on-going coaching and support from the TCOM team.  Please contact us for more information.

Whether you become certified in the use of the tools or elect to become a coach or a trainer within your own organization or beyond, be sure to certify annually and contact us for any materials or additional support.

Need to become certified? Visit and email

Interested in becoming a certified trainer? Contact us to find a date and location near you!

Already a certified trainer looking to share your TCOM knowledge?

-Share your experiences training in a blog post!

-Join the team at the University of Illinois!

The University of Illinois is looking for an IM-CANS Trainer at the School of Social Work. Positions are located in Chicago, Urbana, or Springfield, IL. To learn more and apply, visit their page!

2 Responses

  1. I would like to be a Trainer for the ANSA/CANS certifications. I have taken a course for it but I was unable to get in the class to become a trainer.

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