TCOM Conversations

Are You A Change Maker, Change Embracer, Change Resistor?

Shift, Shift…Bloom: A Podcast All About How People Change

The Transformational Collaborative Outcomes Management (TCOM) framework acts as an approach on how to manage human serving systems (example: healthcare, child welfare, juvenile justice, mental health, education). TCOM focuses on shifting these systems away from just spending time with people, to seeing the work as transformational offerings by helping people change their lives.

The Praed Foundation, the organization that oversees the TCOM tools (Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths [CANS], Adult Needs and Strengths [ANSA], Family Advocacy and Support Tool [FAST], etc.) is interested in exploring the theme of transformation by attempting to understand how people change. One idea was to collect stories from people with different experiences to understand how they have changed and explore their personal change processes.

To explore personal transformation, the Praed Foundaiton partnered with ActuallyQuiteNice Studios and created the Shift, Shift…Bloom! podcast, which examines how people change, why they change, and how they sustain the changes that are most important to them in their everyday lives.

The ten-episode first season featured guests who consider themselves in one of three categories: change makers, change embracers, or resistors of change. Conversations with host Kristen Cerelli explored the importance of mindset, personality, life circumstances, communities of support, and sources of inspiration on the process of transformation.

Shift Shift Bloom Podcast Cover

We ask you, the TCOM Community, to listen to these stories, share your thoughts using our social media (@shiftshiftbloom), and let us know: Are you a change maker, change embracer, or resistor of change?

Podcast episodes include:

In ten additional “TCOM Takeaway” episodes, Dr. John Lyons contributed his unique perspective, seeking to illuminate how change itself can be both deeply personal and a universal experience.

Season 1 of Shift, Shift…Bloom! has concluded and will return for Season 2, which will focus on individuals who help facilitate change and explore the universal changes that are inventible in most people’s lifetime. Listen to Shift, Shift…Bloom! anywhere you get your podcasts:

The TCOM Channel is Now a YouTube Partner

As many of you know, the Center for Innovation in Population Health (IPH Center) at the University of Kentucky and the Praed Foundation have created ‘The TCOM Channel’ on YouTube to facilitate improved communications about the good work happening in the international TCOM collaborative. Many of you have watched some of our videos and have subscribed to this channel. In the first ten months, more than 1580 people have subscribed and we have nearly 40,000 views of the various videos posted on the channel.

Because of your interest and support, The TCOM Channel has become one of the 0.25 percent of the more than 500 million existing YouTube channels that has been successfully monetized. As you all know, YouTube supports its open access by having advertisements on videos. Once a channel has more than 1000 subscribers and 4000 hours of viewing, YouTube agrees to become partners with the channel and shares 55 percent of advertising revenue. The TCOM Channel is now a YouTube Partner.

You might wonder why we are interested in pursuing this partnership, since the ethos of TCOM is to give things away. That, in fact, is precisely why we decided to pursue monetization. We have found that both the brief video features and the longer presentation videos are a great way to communicate within the collaborative. However, there are costs associated with creating content and managing these communications. Rather than seeking funding, donations, or increasing fees to support this work, it seems to us that sharing revenue from advertising with YouTube offers a potential source of continued funding for the work of TCOM.

There has been much discussion about how social media platforms monetize conflict and hate. Angry or controversial videos appear to generate the most views. That makes hate and rage into click bait, further worsening the trend. We want to help reverse that. Perhaps social media can also monetize working in the best interests of people who need our help. We know that the commercials on the YouTube channel can sometimes be annoying. Please know that the majority of the revenue is now going for a good cause. Thank you all for your continued support and viewership. Please tell your friends and colleagues to view, like and subscribe to The TCOM Channel. Thank you all for what you do for others.

2022 TCOM Conference: Registration is Live!

The 18th Annual TCOM (Transformational Collaborative Outcomes Management) Conference will be taking place September 21 – 27, 2022 with an in-person and virtual option. The in-person aspect of the 2022 TCOM Conference will take place in New Orleans, September 21 – 23, 2022 at the JW Marriott New Orleans. Our virtual TCOM Conference Cloud Gathering will take place the following week, September 26 – 27, 2022.

The 18th Annual TCOM Conference will center around the theme, “Managing Change and All That Jazz”. The annual TCOM Conference brings together a global audience who may be influenced by TCOM in various ways.


To register for the 2022 TCOM Conference:

What to Expect at the 2022 TCOM Conference

Thinking of attending the TCOM Conference? Attending for the first time? Wondering what an in-person conference even looks like in 2022? Dr. John Lyons and Judy Howard will discuss memories of TCOM Conferences past and answer your questions about what to expect in New Orleans in a YouTube Live interview on June 1, 2022.

Dr. John Lyons is the developer of the Transformational Collaborative Outcomes Management (TCOM) framework. Judy Howard is the 2022 TCOM Conference Program Chair and Assistant Director of Training, Development and Operations at the Provider Assistance & Training Hub (PATH).

New Orleans - 2022 TCOM Conference logo
2022 TCOM Conference Logo

We encourage you to visit the full Conference Page if you have any additional questions:

Hierarchies of Understanding & Need for Collaboration: Transformation on Person & Population Levels (2/2)

purple and blue abstract wallpaper

By: Ken McGill, EdS, LMFT

In the first part of this blog, Ken McGill talked about how a whole-person approach requires a broader perspective of “needs” and how collaboration is required for transformation at the individual and systems level. In part 2, Ken continues to discuss how this can be achieved.


Human Complexities Require Collaborative Solutions

We know how complex humans are physically, emotionally, behaviorally, spiritually, and psychologically. Therefore, it would only make sense, as implied in defining human services, to apply a plural approach to support, heal, and treat human conditions. The use of teams has been part of the SOC movement, especially in the utilization of the wraparound approach to care. In another recent blog post, Binti & Opeeka Uniquely Applying Wraparound’s Team Approach: Solutions For Success, I described the absolute need for collaboration. In fact, a follow-up webinar, hosted by Fostering Media Connections (FMC), highlighted the need for technology to be used for collaboration in order to best serve those children, youth, emerging adults, and families connected to child welfare.

During the follow-up webinar, Better Tech, Better Outcomes: How Technology Collaboration Can Improve Foster Care, a panel discussed the challenges child welfare systems faced even prior to the global pandemic. However, the ongoing COVID-19 crisis only intensified the needs of the most vulnerable children, youth, and families, and the discussion included the following reality: there were foster family shortages, social worker burdens and exoduses, and the complex needs of youth facing trauma were becoming more acute and widespread.

Groups across the country have been working tirelessly to design and implement creative, innovative strategies and tools which can help alleviate the crisis, facilitate child welfare processes, focus on ‘whole-person care,’ and drive positive outcomes for youth, families, and social workers. My hope is that this discussion continues, and technologies can be shared to support systemic collaboration, especially supporting whole-person care where the data is incorporated into treatment in real-time.

It is Going to Take a Team to Heal a Village

While technology alone is not the answer to every challenge, it should be used in ways to harness data, increase collaboration, streamline processes, and better match children/youth and families to evidence-based practices/services to ensure better outcomes and overall experiences. The take-away lesson from the worldwide pandemic has been to continue applying innovative solutions to the challenges, especially to drive systemic changes towards equity for all. Systems must continue to evaluate and ensure that practices and policies reflect the needs and strengths of those being served.

It was only recently that I learned from a friend who works in the corporate world that challenges usually fall in two distinct categories: complicated and complex. As she explained it, complicated problems or challenges are completely solvable, often just by matching expertise and/or technical skills. She referred to this as a mechanistic problem, for example, programming development. Then there are more ‘complex’ problems or challenges which are also solvable but often require much more thought and planning to achieve those positive outcomes. The complexity is often related to the larger interconnected systems, interpersonal dynamics, and other areas yet to be discovered.

The collaborative work of developing the shared vision leads to the collaborative discovery of answers to the identified challenges. Therefore, a TCOM Team approach appears to be the next step in the process of meeting the complex needs of children, youth, adults, and families. However, let’s not take the approach of ‘boiling the ocean’ and failing, which equates to trial-and-error, which should never be done in human services. Instead, we can align with TCOM and develop a Transformational Care Plan which incorporates Wraparound.

Successful change requires collaborations at all levels, from the family team all the way to the systems of care. For sustainable systemic changes, we must solve both complicated and complex challenges using innovative solutions. The TCOM Collaborative has served as a model of successful ways systems have collaborated. The steps are clear: together as a team, we must develop a shared vision to identify underlying needs, while building/using strengths, and ensure that all voices are heard, especially those we serve. The plan the team creates to solve both complicated and complex challenges connected to each system can actively serve as the ultimate goal or outcome which can adequately address both health equity and impact social determinants of health.

Hierarchies of Understanding: Needs for Collaboration-Whole Person Care
Hierarchies of Understanding: Needs for Collaboration-Whole Person Care

Let’s move forward by not thinking we can act alone to solve all of these challenges. Together we can celebrate the evolution from “Systems of Care” towards ‘Systems that Care’ as we come together in our focus on human services. It can be difficult when you think you are alone without anyone. I cannot help but think of the poem ‘Alone’ by Maya Angelou, where she writes, “Alone, all alone/Nobody, but nobody/Can make it out here alone.” The takeaway is that without another person, which can mean a family or partner, we cannot fully “make it” as we are social creatures requiring a nourishment of community to survive and hopefully be prosperous.

We invite you to attend the 18th Annual TCOM Conference in September 2022 to meet up either in-person in New Orleans or virtually at our Cloud Gathering. The 2022 TCOM Conference will center around the theme, “Managing Change and All That Jazz”. The annual TCOM Conference brings together a global audience who may be influenced by TCOM in various ways.

Hierarchies of Understanding & Need for Collaboration: Transformation on Person & Population Levels (1/2)

purple and blue abstract wallpaper

By: Ken McGill, EdS, LMFT


TCOM-Shared Vision for Change

What do people think when asked about how to develop a ‘shared-vision’ for successful changes within the human services field? The question gets at the core of what is needed when we focus on accomplishing transformational change to systems that have been historically unfair to many throughout society. Many would say that it can be quite difficult to fully answer the question while developing a plan to successfully move toward equity for all.

However, it is the framework of Transformational Collaborative Outcomes Management (TCOM) which can serve as the true catalyst to move beyond philosophy. TCOM’s foundation has already shaped a shared vision in human services: “helping people achieve their health and wellness goals as they navigate healthcare, child welfare, justice, behavioral health, education, and other complex systems.” These ‘health and wellness’ components together comprise a whole-person approach, and the TCOM tools can be used to support a whole-person understanding of those we serve.

For a successful incorporation of the ‘whole-person care’ approach, it is important to acquire a thorough understanding of the person’s needs and strengths in their specific life domains, including home, school/work, and community. We now know that early adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) play an active role in later-life health and wellness. In addition, social determinants of health (SoDH) have been recognized as the health-promoting factors which are found in an individual’s living as well as educational/working conditions (such as the distribution of income, wealth, influence, and power). Research shows that, rather than behavioral risk factors or genetics, it is these factors that serve as the influencing components for the risk of disease, or a vulnerability to diseases and/or injuries. In addition, economic and social conditions play a role in both individual and group differences relating to overall health status.

Maslow’s Needs Towards Understanding Whole-Person

It was almost 80 years ago when Abraham Maslow, an American psychologist, shared his hierarchy of human needs in his 1943 paper “A Theory of Human Motivation”. Maslow’s concept of individual motivation captures only a portion of the equation for self-actualization. When we include influences like ACEs and SoDH, the hierarchical pyramid structure falls short of a full understanding of whole person within context. It is only when you use a TCOM lens to the needs structure that it transforms into a complete picture of the overall hierarchy for understanding of both needs and strengths.

If we look at Maslow’s pyramid as a surface or ‘conscious’ level motivation of the human spirit, it is incomplete as we must also include those factors which fall outside the locus of control and/or those below our conscious levels which may influence or inhibit motivation. It is often these factors that play a powerful role in outcomes rather than the motivation levels of the individual. We can then conceptualize this more broad view of need (using a diamond form/shape) as Hierarchies of Understanding:

Hierarchies of Understanding: Needs for Collaboration-Whole Person Care
Hierarchies of Understanding: Needs for Collaboration-Whole Person Care

Systems of Care-A Step Towards Whole-Person Care

The concept of systems of care goes back to the mid-1980s, but it was not until 1992 that systems of care (SOC) became part of a national initiative. The national SOC movement can be credited directly to Congress’s establishment of the Children’s Mental Health Initiative (CMHI) within the Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The national movement’s goal was to improve policies, organizational, and financial structures to achieve ‘improvements in children/youth & family service delivery systems.’ The final results were better outcomes for children, youth, and families involved in SOC.

Systems of care brought to the table those who were working with children, youth and families. The next step in SOC’s evolution is to ensure that collaboration efforts are strong enough to meet not only Maslow’s pyramid of needs but also those needs outside of the individuals and families. Often when we think of ‘systems,’ images of an obtuse amalgamation of inanimate components or parts come to mind. However, it is far from absolute truth when we define the human service fields, especially connected with child welfare, education, mental/behavioral health, and primary care. In fact, one definition of the human services field is:

The field of Human Services is broadly defined, uniquely approaching the objective of meeting human needs through an interdisciplinary knowledge base, focusing on prevention as well as remediation of problems, and maintaining a commitment to improving the overall quality of life of service populations. The Human Services profession is one which promotes improved service delivery systems by addressing not only the quality of direct services, but also by seeking to improve accessibility, accountability, and coordination among professionals and agencies in service delivery. (National Organization for Human Services)

Helping Hand image

It is through this broad definition that an inter-connectedness develops, which brings the field up to the level of TCOM. To solidify this point, this quote captures the very essence of the transformational aspirations of our field: 

Human services in practice is driven by a sense of humanity, but there’s so much more to it than simple charity. Behind it is a philosophy that understands that by helping individuals overcome trying circumstances we contribute to a thriving and successful society. Human services is as much about the collective as it is about the individuals it serves.


In part 2 of this blog, we will discuss how transformational change of the whole person requires collaboration and creative solutions.

Ask A TCOM Trainer | New YouTube Series

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Our TCOM Trainers will be featured in a new monthly YouTube series, “Ask A TCOM Trainer”.

In this series, they will answer frequently and not so frequently asked questions from the TCOM Community. Questions will range broadly from “What is person-centered care?” and “How do I connect trauma to planning?” to more specific topics on the tools, such as, “Why are the strengths rated backward?” and “How do I use the CANS with an older teen?”.

Ask A TCOM Trainer | Trauma-Informed Approach & Trauma Specific Items | The TCOM Channel

Staffed from the Center for Innovation in Population Health (IPH Center), the TCOM Team trains and implements jurisdictions on various TCOM Tools (CANS, ANSA, FAST, etc.). The TCOM tools are founded on TCOM (Transformational Collaborative Outcomes Management) principles and emphasize person-centered, consensus-based decision-making strategies to work with youth, adults, and families in complex care systems.

TCOM trainers and guests from across the world will weigh in on the topics that matter most to our community. Our goal with this series is to help people understand the TCOM tools and framework, and how TCOM can make a positive impact on others.

For all technical needs on the TCOM Training online learning platform, we recommend you reach out to

Have a question for a TCOM trainer? Leave it as a comment on any of the videos from this series and we’ll answer it in an upcoming episode. Our first episodes are live now with more on the way.

Ask A TCOM Trainer | YouTube Playlist | The TCOM Channel

What If Homelessness Was Not Just About Housing, But Also About Trauma Recovery?

Join the TCOM Team on April 12, 2022, at 1 PM ET / 10 AM PT for a 1-hour webinar being hosted by the Center for Innovation in Population Health.

Dr. Sarah Ascienzo and Dr. Natalie Pope will be discussing their innovative research surrounding homelessness for the free What IPH Seminar series. They will discuss their participants’ challenges they encountered when trying to free themselves from reoccurring homelessness. This topic could not be discussed without talking about their trauma.

Participants spoke of trauma in early life, perhaps precipitating homelessness, as well as traumatic experiences while homeless. The 2 speakers will discuss these findings in detail, and also connect study findings to the need for trauma-informed care and supportive services that are sensitive to the urgency of homelessness as it is experienced by men in late life.

Dr. Sarah Ascienzo is an Assistant Professor in the School of Social Work at North Carolina State University. Dr. Ascienzo has over 15 years of clinical practice experience with children and families adversely affected by psychological trauma. Dr. Natalie Pope is an Associate Professor and PhD Program Director at the University of Kentucky College of Social Work. Dr. Pope recently received the 2021 Rose Dobrof Award for her and her co-authors (Dr. Susan Buchino and Dr. Sarah Ascienzo) work on this topic.

We invite you to attend the What IPH Seminar on Wednesday, April 21, 2021.

More Details:

This free webinar is hosted by the Center for Innovation in Population Health. Our goal with our What IPH series is to present innovative ideas that can apply to the public health space. We invite all University of Kentucky faculty, staff, students, and the TCOM Collaborative to join us for our first seminar series. 

Overcoming Adversity with Dr. De Lacy Davis | TCOM Champion

We will be starting a new series in which we highlight past TCOM award winners (TCOM Champions) for their work in the TCOM community.

De Lacy Davis

At the 2020 TCOM Conference, De Lacy Davis, EdD, won the TCOM Family Advocate Champion Award for his inspiring leadership in ensuring parents receive the help they need. Dr. Davis was also a keynote for the virtual 2021 TCOM Conference on the topic, “Going Beyond Rhetoric – Transformational & Collaborative Outcomes: The Intersectionality of Then, Now and Tomorrow“. He is the Director for the Family Support Organization of Union County and the Executive Director for the New Jersey Alliance of Family Support Organizations. He is also the founder and still leading the organization, Black Cops Against Police Brutality.

Podcast Interview:

Dr. De Lacy Davis was recently featured on the TCOM podcast, Shift, Shift…Bloom! On this podcast, Dr. Davis shares why he became a cop and his time serving on the force as a black officer in a historically racist institution. Though both his career and his personal life have been marked by tumultuous change, the through line in his story is a commitment to service, honesty, compassion and an innate belief in “doing the right thing” regardless of the consequences. To hear his story in his own words, we invite you to listen:


Police Force

For 20 years, Dr. De Lacy D. Davis worked in the New Jersey police department. He started off as a police officer, then retired as a sergeant and as a commander of a community services unit. Building from the ground up, they had a police athletic league (which provides recreational and cultural programs designed for inner-city youth) that originally had 150 children; they were able to grow to 2600 youths. They made tremendous progress by raising $1.3 million and reducing juvenile crime by 33%. They increased the number of community-based programs from 12 to 33 by the time Dr. Davis retired.

Charter School Principal

After retiring from the police department, he started a consulting company for leadership training. He was asked by a charter school in Newark, New Jersey to train their staff around leadership. The school ran into issues within its first year of opening and was without a principal. At the risk of getting shut down by the State, the community parents reached out to Dr. Davis to take the position. He hesitantly accepted, and ended up staying for 5 years where they made yearly progress on the “No Child Left Behind” act.

Founding Black Cops Against Police Brutality

In 1991, he founded and is still currently leading the organization Black Cops Against Police Brutality. In the 90s, they would connect with guest speakers for their annual celebration for Kwanzaa, such as Dick Gregory, Reverend Al Sharpton, Dr. Joy DeGruy, Congressman Donald Payne, the rap group Naughty by Nature, and Queen Latifah.

Before there was a term, we wanted to be culturally competent and we wanted to be culturally relevant,” says Dr. Davis. When Black Cops Against Police Brutality works with other disenfranchised groups, such as Asian and Latin communities, they make sure to partner with local organizations and individuals who can connect culturally with the group.

“While we can all be committed to the struggle and advocating, there are also nuances to various groups, including the black community, and we need to be sensitive to the nuance if we want to be most effective at this work.”

Over time, they have shifted their work from “advocacy in the streets and across the country on behalf of Black, Brown, and disenfranchised peoples”, to now doing academic work for their cause.

Family Support Organization

Dr. De Lacy Davis is the Executive Director for the Family Support Organization of Union County and Plainfield, New Jersey where they provide support, education, and advocacy to parents of children with special needs, children with substance use challenges, and children with juvenile justice system involvement. Dr. Davis has a team of 10, as well as 12 college interns who are in social work, public administration, and occupational therapy assistant programs.

Family Support Organization of Union County logo

In 2019, Dr. Davis took over as the interim executive director for the New Jersey Alliance of Family Support Organizations (NJFSO). The function of the Alliance, is to coordinate with the statewide network of FSOs (Family Support Organizations) and other family-serving organizations that represent families raising children with emotional, behavioral, or mental health challenges. Dr. Davis, along with Jessica Santiago (the program coordinator for the organization), have many responsibilities, which includes:

  • Provide half of the certification training for families and partners, including the Family Needs and Strengths (FANS) training, motivational interview training, and action planning. Rutgers University Behavioral Health Care (UBHC) hosts the other half of the certification training.
  • Create and review the annual CQI (continuous quality improvement) survey of all 15 FSOs. The survey is sent to families to make sure they feel empowered and satisfied with the service provided by their FSO.
  • Ensure that all FSOs in New Jersey are provided technical assistance, including the family support partners, executive directors, and their boards of directors.

Overcoming Adversity

While De Lacy was on the police force, he was invited to speak for Black History Month for a paid speaking engagement. However, a new director of the organization came in shortly after the event and refused to pay him because, “’ He’s just the police officer, what could he possibly talked about?’ “.

Dr. Davis said that exchange was insulting. That’s when he decided to go back to school to get his master’s because, “I’m never going to allow another person to determine my fate or my destiny based upon their pre-judgment of me, based on my profession or based on what I look like.”

Dr. Davis then went to Fairleigh Dickinson University and enrolled in their two-year Master Administrative Science (MAS) program and finished in 11 months. He decided to get another Master’s while running the charter school and received a Masters of Public Administration (MPA) at Rutgers University and later earned his principal certification. Dr. Davis completed his doctoral degree with his dissertation in “Police Use of Force: Examining the Factors Relating to Police Officers Shooting Unarmed Black Males”.

“I often say lovingly that as a ghetto kid from the hood where living is good, if you can survive. I’ve been blessed to survive, and I still live in that community today. When I have this conversation about inspiration and advocacy, I talk about being under-educated, coming from an urban area, and understanding that poverty does impact how you get an education.”

When discussing inspiration, Dr. Davis tries to remind people, especially men and certainly men of color who are reluctant to go for counseling and treatment, that figuring out you need help and support when faced with adversity is inspiring in itself.

Involvement with TCOM

Dr. De Lacy Davis says that he got involved with the TCOM work when he met Ken McGill, who was the 2021 TCOM Conference Chairperson. Ken was a part of the Rutgers University Behavioral Health Care team, which hosts certificate training on the FANS, and also trained De Lacy as a Family Support Partner. Dr. Davis was familiar with the CANS (Child Adolescent Needs and Strengths), and was curious about the tools. All he knew about Dr. John Lyons before was that “he was someone we read about when we go to training. My understanding of him from my vantage point was only superficial, and I wanted a deeper dive.”

Dr. Davis met Dr. John Lyons in June 2020. He says, “To see him, meet him, engage him, I then understood why Ken McGill, the partners, and the executive directors were so excited about him.”

In describing his work in Union County, De Lacy has created a team briefing model around the CANS approach. Meaning, when the goal is to move the family from attentive to moderate to supportive, they talk about the strengths that the family has. They want to be strength-based, and where the families don’t have support or moderate strength, they develop those using a team approach.

“I’m committed to the work because, at the end of the day, I want to see success. I don’t get paid when I’m doing this work, so I don’t have room for us to not get it right.”

Final Thoughts

Dr. De Lacy shared his final thoughts in the interview, and we thought it was best for the TCOM Collaborative to hear in his own words what he has to say. Below is Dr. Davis talking about his time in the TCOM Community:

Connect with Dr. De Lacy Davis:

Podcast Episode:

Children’s Health & Mental Wellbeing: Whole-Person Approach | Event

You’re Invited to attend an Opeeka webinar “Children’s Health & Mental Wellbeing: Whole-Person Approach” on March 2, 2022, 11:00 AM PST || 2:00 PM EST

Event Information:

  • Topic: Children’s Health & Mental Wellbeing: Whole-Person Approach
  • Date: Wednesday, March 2, 2022
  • Time: 11am PST | 2pm EST
  • Register: Zoom Webinar Registration

Event Description:

Just like physical health, mental health in childhood focuses on reaching developmental and emotional milestones, learning healthy social skills, as well as how to cope when there are difficult situations. An important goal for all children is for them to be both physically and mentally healthy, so that they can have a positive quality of life-functioning well at home, in school, and in their communities. It is important that we remember that physical health is not just the absence of illness & disease and mental health is not simply the absence of a mental disorder. In this webinar, join a panel of experts discussing a whole-person approach to children’s health and well-being.

The developer of TCOM, Dr. John Lyons, will be speaking at this virtual event. Dr. John S. Lyons is the inaugural Director of the Center for Innovation in Population Health and professor of Health Management and Policy at the University of Kentucky’s College of Public Health.

Additional Speakers:

Susan McLennan, Co-Founder and CMO at Welfie

Susan is a Co-Founder and the Chief Marketing Officer of Welfie, an organization that exists to lift the health of families through their children. Susan specializes in helping purposeful brands tell stories that change the world. Work she has created with her husband/partner, Mike Erskine Kellie, has won Emmy Awards, made headlines in top media outlets around the world, and been selected for inclusion in the Smithsonian and the Library of Congress.

Kate Cordell, PhD, CEO, Chief Scientific Officer, Co-Founder of Opeeka

Dr. Cordell is a nationwide thought leader for behavioral health technology, integrating data systems to support a whole-person approach to care. She has built models for federal, state, county, healthcare provider, and community-based agencies to convert behavioral health and social program data into decisions and decisions into positive outcomes. Dr. Cordell works to identify whether individuals and families are improving during care. She is especially interested in what works for whom. Every person and family has a story, often complex but also sewn with a common thread.

Colleen Leung, Co-Founder and CEO of Unmute

Colleen Leung is the Co-Founder & CEO of Unmute, a mental health platform that uses machine learning algorithms to increase the match and long-term success rate of patients seeking therapy treatment. Colleen was born and raised on the island of Oahu and in 2018 relocated to Boston to obtain her MBA from Babson College. Unmute was launched during the pandemic and has matched 400+ users to the right therapist to date. Colleen is now looking to white label and provide Unmute’s matching services to health insurance companies.

The TCOM Podcast: All About How People Change

A new podcast co-production from the Praed Foundation and Actually Quite Nice.


In our line of work, we try to understand a lot about people, but there’s still a lot we don’t know about how people actually change.

 “All of us want to try to be the best person we can be, but we all start in different places, and we all choose a different definition of ‘better’”. – John Lyons, producer of shift, shift…Bloom!

There are all sorts of theories, therapeutic approaches, and interventions, but we don’t have a clear idea on what leads people to change to make their lives more fulfilling. The idea of this podcast is to collect stories from different people in different places with different experiences to understand how they’ve changed, and understand how they see their personal change processes.

Transformational Stories

The newly launched TCOM podcast, shift, shift…Bloom!, examines how people change, why they change, and how they sustain the changes that are most important to them in their everyday lives. The ten-episode first season features guests who consider themselves change makers and change embracers as well as those who identify as resistors of change — we’re all somewhere on that spectrum in different domains of our lives, aren’t we?

shift, shift…Bloom! Podcast Cover Art
shift, shift…Bloom! Podcast Cover Art

Conversations with host Kristen Cerelli explore the importance of mindset, personality, life circumstances, communities of support, and sources of inspiration on the process of transformation. In ten additional bonus episodes, Dr. John Lyons contributes his unique perspective, seeking to illuminate how change itself can be both deeply personal and beautifully universal.

About the Host

headshot of Kristen Cerelli
Kristin Cerelli, host of the podcast, shift, shift…Bloom!

Kristen Cerelli sets the tone for shift, shift…Bloom!, anchoring interviews with a perspective gained from her work as a performer and from her training as a theatre artist and personal coach.

Compelling guests from all across the world share their personal stories of change, and the ensuing interviews have been enlightening.” – Kristen Cerelli, host of shift, shift…Bloom!

Kristen crossed paths with Dr. John Lyons on their mutual “first day on the job” at the University of Kentucky. The two professors struck up a conversation, and although from very different worlds, they discovered a shared interest in the process of human transformation.

Kristen was part of the team that brought TCOM training videos to the California Department of Social Services. Kristen has appeared on stage in NYC, on television, and she has released two CDs of original songs. She holds an MFA from The New School and enjoys broadening her experience as a creative storyteller.

Where to Listen

TCOM Takeaway 10: Cat Stevens, Guadalcanal Diary and Just Being in the Moment Shift Shift Bloom

Notes to Come.
  1. TCOM Takeaway 10: Cat Stevens, Guadalcanal Diary and Just Being in the Moment
  2. EP10: Grab the Kids and Go, with African Immigrant "Leonie"
  3. TCOM Takeaway 9: The Actor in All of Us
  4. EP9: Strip Down the Layers, with Method Actors Gabe Fazio and Brandy Hotchner
  5. TCOM Takeaway 8: Embrace Random Convenience, a.k.a. Yak Jerky is Delicious

The podcast launches today (Monday, February 14th), with the trailer and first episode now available. The first episode features Jordan Constantine, a Senior Policy Analyst and Safe Systems practitioner for the IPH Center, who shares his gender transition journey.

shift, shift…Bloom! is available on Spotify, Apple Music, and Amazon Music. Soon, this will be available everywhere you get your podcasts. To further support the podcast or access exclusive content, you can become a member of shift, shift…Bloom!’s Patreon.

A new episode will be available every Monday, with the end of Season 1 occurring on April 18th. Bonus episodes for Patreon subscribers will first be available on Friday, February 18th and 9 more to follow weekly, finishing April 22nd.


The show was created by host Kristen Cerelli and producer Tim Fall, in collaboration with Dr. John Lyons, director of The Center for Innovation in Population Health at The University of Kentucky, and founder of The Praed Foundation, supporting the development and dissemination of support system improvement strategies called Transformational Collaborative Outcomes Management, or TCOM.

Data is Not a 4-Letter Word: A Clinician’s View of What It Really Is

By: Ken McGill, EdS, LMFT

It is very interesting looking back on my career as a Marriage & Family Therapist. When I first started my career, there were paper files placed upon a shelf, where the ‘paperwork’ was only to be reviewed when there was a chart review for accreditation or sadly when things went wrong. Thinking back, I had courses on theory, statistics, evaluative/diagnostic criteria, and the history of psychology that filled the years in both my undergraduate and graduate schooling. However, I never had a course specifically outlining the specifics of progress notes, assessments and use of data directly supporting connecting to the work itself. 

A Short History of Professional Psychology by the Chicago School

I encourage you to think about your education and training in the field of human services. It is a very interesting introspective journey in answering the question, “Why did I choose this field to work in?” We often ask ourselves this question when things are not going too well. Or those days where you have been challenged beyond belief. If this is not one of those days, I encourage you to stop for a moment and see what answer you come up with. Most likely your answer is similar to mine, “I wanted to help people.” I doubt answers include, “To make a lot of money” or “To complete paperwork” or “Help some people.”

Since I have been asking so many questions, how about just one more. Why did I include the last example of the answer, ‘Help some people’? The reason is that we all know that while some people get better, some do not. Or even some that get worse. Then, an underlying question becomes, “What can we do to help all those we serve?” This then becomes the challenge that we, as helpers, must meet head-on. The way I see it the most effective way to accomplish helping everyone is by examining the data.

Data Analysis Word Cloud

Yes, you heard this clinician correctly. Let’s look at the data. I am not sure why or when ‘data’ became this 4-letter word but is actually made up of 14 letters. Data is the ‘work + technology’ equaling 14 letters (not counting the + sign). This is not just a play on words when you give it some thought. When a clinician is doing their work, they will enter progress notes and other information into the electronic health record (EHR). Most agencies or organizations are now utilizing EHRs to safely store personal health information (PHI). In fact, data often stays so secure that it may not be used in decision-making. 

Health Related Icons

The fact that data is not used in decision-making at all levels, from the direct care level up to organizational or funding levels is mind-blowing. Why? Why not? It makes sense to this clinician that we collect data to learn and share what we have accomplished, especially with those being served. If this is not the case, then the possibility is that we are collecting data for the purpose of just collecting the information. My hope is that it is the former rather than the latter. 

So those who agree with the following statement align with the TCOM Collaborative:

We collect data for the purposes of learning and sharing what we have accomplished, especially with those being served.

A call-to-action is needed where we must collectively share with others who are not utilizing the data to drive care. Please feel free to use the phrase: Data is not a 4-Letter Word. Hopefully, this will spark meaningful conversations explaining Transformation Collaborative Outcomes Management to others. Please do not feel constrained to only have conversations with those working in behavioral/mental health. Instead, share this with anyone/everyone who is working in the human-service field: education, child-welfare, juvenile/criminal justice, primary care, anything/everything connected with people. 

Please join in preparing for the 18th Annual TCOM Conference: Managing Change and All That Jazz in September. There is an amazing opportunity to not only attend but to present as the ‘Call for Proposals’ is still open until February 28th. I would like to congratulate the 2022 TCOM Conference Chairperson-Judy Howard in leading the charge, especially her leadership & work supporting children & families throughout Illinois embodying TCOM Values & Principles.

Looking forward to connecting & reconnecting with you in New Orleans!

Ken McGill, EdS, LMFT

Introducing the 2022 TCOM Conference Chairperson: Judy Howard

Written by: Judy Howard, LCSW

Judy Howard
Judith Howard, LCSW

I’m honored to be chairing the program committee of the 2022 TCOM Conference: Managing Change and All that Jazz in New Orleans. This position is the culmination of my CANS journey, which started in the early 2000s when Illinois child welfare first adopted a version of the tool. Since then, Illinois has implemented other versions across other disciplines, including the current version used by behavioral health providers across our state – the Illinois Medicaid  Comprehensive Assessment of Needs and Strengths (IM+CANS), which is a lifespan tool that integrates CANS and ANSA items.  

My career has spanned both child welfare and behavioral health, with settings ranging from private agencies, academic and research to large state agency policy work, and has grown from direct service into senior-level administration and large-scale evaluations. In my prior position, I worked for the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (the state Medicaid agency, referred to as HFS) as the senior administrator for behavioral health policy. In that role, I was lucky enough to partner with the amazing Dr. John Lyons and April Fernando, and a wonderful team of Medicaid behavioral health experts to help Illinois design the IM+CANS.

Provider Assistance and Training Hub logo
Provider Assistance and Training Hub (PATH) logo

I am currently the Assistant Director of Training, Operations and Evaluation for the Provider Assistance and Training Hub (PATH) at the UIUC School of Social Work. When we started this partnership in 2018 with HFS and the University of Illinois, we were just a small CANS training office with 9 staff. We are now a 35 member strong behavioral health Training and Technical Assistance Center. From our inception, the mission has always been to support and implement a variety of behavioral health changes as part of Illinois’ commitment to improving services across the state. When we began, our initial focus was collaborating with Praed to implement the IM+CANS statewide to all Medicaid enrolled behavioral health providers, which includes all Community Mental Health Centers, Behavioral Health Clinics and Independent Practitioners. Today, that focus remains, but we have grown beyond simple implementation into coaching and support as well as training and are beginning to move into data collection with the arrival of our CANS portal.

Like every implementation project, PATH’s journey has been a roller-coaster ride. Along the way, the CANS tools have been embraced by some and challenged by others. The CANS tools serve as the baseline for all the behavioral health changes in Illinois, and there are many changes still to come. We will be in the midst of this process for a while. But we aren’t alone. My team and I have had the opportunity to learn from Dr. Lyons and his team of experts, but also from so many of the folks who attend this conference. Many of you have graciously shared your own implementation journeys and experiences and provided us with many great ideas which we have adopted, and hopefully integrated well. I’ve had the opportunity to share the Illinois experience at TCOM conferences in 2018, 2019 and 2020, and other members of the PATH team have presented on a variety of TCOM related topics in 2020 and 2021. I sincerely hope that some of the lessons learned in Illinois’ journey have been of assistance to others who are pursuing their own CANS journeys.         

I invite you to submit a proposal to the program committee. We want to hear your experiences, your data, your lessons learned. And please- consider attending this year’s conference. What we glean from the program presentations enriches us all, as does the opportunity to collaborate and network informally with so many of our colleagues.   Let’s make this the best TCOM conference ever!

Contact information:

Contact Judy Howard:

Contact PATH:

Contact Praed Foundation:

Additional Resources:

2022 TCOM Conference: 18th Annual TCOM Conference: Managing Change and All That Jazz

Submit Proposal: 2022 TCOM Conference – Call for Proposals

Judith Howard, LCSW

Judith Howard

Judy Howard, LCSW, Assistant Director of Training, Development and Operations at the Provider Assistance & Training Hub (PATH), School of Social Work at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Judith Howard’s CANS (Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths) journey first started in the early 2000s when Illinois child welfare first adopted a version of the tool. Throughout her career, she has been involved in both the child welfare and behavioral health field throughout her career. Settings range from private agencies, academic and research to large state agency policy work, and has grown from direct service into senior-level administration and large-scale evaluations. 

Judith Howard is currently the Assistant Director of Training, Operations and Evaluation for the Provider Assistance and Training Hub (PATH) at the UIUC School of Social Work. When they started this partnership in 2018 with HFS and the University of Illinois, they were just a small CANS training office with 9 staff. They are now a 35 member strong behavioral health Training and Technical Assistance Center. Their mission has always been to support and implement a variety of behavioral health changes as part of Illinois’ commitment to improving services across the state. PATH has grown beyond simple implementation into coaching, support, training, and are beginning to move into data collection with the arrival of their CANS portal.

Judith has shared the Illinois implementation experience at TCOM conferences in 2018, 2019 and 2020, and other members of the PATH team have presented on a variety of TCOM related topics in 2020 and 2021.

Judith is now the Program Chairperson for the 2022 TCOM Conference: Managing Change and All that Jazz in New Orleans, LA. Judith describes this role as the “culmination of my CANS journey”; we are honored to have Judy lead our Program Committee in making this a wonderful and collaborative 18th Annual TCOM Conference.

We encourage you to read more about Judith Howard’s story and background in her blog post here.

If you would like to get in touch with Judith Howard, you can contact her at

International TCOM Day


Happy TCOM Day to all and Happy Ground Hog Day as well. Ground Hog Day is a great time to celebrate the TCOM (Transformational Collaborative Outcomes Management) work that we do. We think of Ground Hog Day as the official holiday of TCOM for three main reasons.

  1. It is a holiday based on using data to inform decision making.
  2. Like the movie of the same name, TCOM involves doing the same thing over and over again until we get it right.
  3. It is a holiday where nobody stops working–just like in TCOM, we are always striving to be helpful and effective.

So, enjoy International TCOM Day. We wish you all the best and hope that your outcomes are always positive and your aspirations are achievable.

Happy International TCOM Day

Ways to celebrate International TCOM Day:

  1. Subscribe to the TCOM YouTube Channel
  2. Get started on your Recertification in the TCOM Tools
    • Those who use the TCOM Tools (CANS, ANSA, FAST, SSIT, CAT, RISE) know they must certify (normally every year) in order to keep using the tools. Users will recertify on the TCOM Training platform.
    • If you have questions on how to certify or how to start your recertification, you can view our TCOM Training FAQ page or videos.
  3. Submit your Proposal to Present at the Annual TCOM Conference
    • We would love for you to share your voice and work at the annual TCOM Conference. A great way to share your work is through presenting at the 2022 TCOM Conference this year, which will take place in New Orleans, September 21 – 23, 2022.
    • Call for Proposals will remain open until February 28, 2022. You may submit your proposal using our Call for Proposal form here
  4. Remember the TCOM Guiding Principles
    1. All assessments and interventions should be culturally responsive and respectful.
    2. People should have voice and choice with regard to participating in any assessments and interventions.
    3. All interventions should be personalized, respectful and have demonstrable value to the people they serve.
    4. Collaborative processes, inclusive of children and families, should be used for all decisions at all levels of the system.
    5. Consensus on action is the primary outcome of collaborative processes.
    6. Information about the people served and their personal change should always inform decision making at all levels of the system.
    7. All of our work should be accomplished with respect of the earth and our impact on it.
Person-Centered Care, Accountability, Inclusion, Respect, Collaboration are all included as the main TCOM values.
TCOM Values

Research Opportunity: Teaming & Connectedness

Teaming and Connectedness survey: Teaming and Connectedness (

The Center for Innovation in Population Health at the University of Kentucky is undertaking a program of research on teaming across helping organizations. Since a large focus of our work is on collaboration, we hope to try to deepen our understanding of the workplace conditions that both facilitate and frustrate effective teaming.

If you are interested and willing, we would appreciate you taking 15 to 20 minutes of your time to complete a survey that will initiate this program of research. We will post results on the blog as soon as they are available.

We appreciate all that you do for others.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Dr. John Lyons at either or 859-562-2734. Thank you for considering our request.

Teaming & Connectedness Survey: 

Want to Work with the TCOM Team?

Join us at the Center for Innovation in Population Health! We are expanding and will soon be accepting applications for various positions.

The Center for Innovation in Population Health is within University of Kentucky’s College of Public Health. Our team provides training, research, and implementation support for organizations that utilize the Transformational Collaborative Outcomes Management (TCOM) framework. This framework is primarily used in systems of care, such as child welfare, behavioral health, juvenile justice, and other complex systems.

Knowledge in the TCOM Tools (Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths [CANS], the Adult Needs and Strengths Assessment [ANSA], and the Family Advocacy and Support Tool [FAST]), will be considered a plus.

The following positions will be made available on University of Kentucky’s Job Postings:

I. Biomedical Data Science Assistant (Lexington, Kentucky based):

The Biomedical Data Science Assistant is responsible for providing data science support on the use of the TCOM Tools (CANS, ANSA, FAST, etc.).

The candidate will be expected to provide innovative translational research support in the implementation and evaluation of children’s systems of care with agencies and jurisdictions in across the globe. The TCOM Tools are multi-purpose tools developed for children’s, adult behavioral health, and family services used 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.

Knowledge of, and experience with R is required, as well as desirable experience in other programming languages such as SAS, Stata, Python, VBA.

II. Post-Doctoral Scholar (Lexington, Kentucky based):

Offers a learning opportunity as a Postdoctoral Scholar to develop a career in person-centered care.

The position will provide scholarly expertise for the implementation of the TCOM framework utilizing the CANS and related TCOM tools within the Center for Innovation in Population Health. The position requires a candidate who can develop and conduct research, manuscript writing, and who can offer analytic and training support for population-based data related to the mission of the Center. The ideal candidate will also have interest and experience in health equity and health disparity issues as well as a demonstrated commitment to social justice and diversity, equity, and inclusion in their work.

III. Assistant Professor level Faculty (Lexington preferred/remote possible):

This Research Title Series position will provide statistical and methodological expertise for the implementation of the TCOM framework utilizing the CANS and related TCOM tools within the Center for Innovation in Population Health. The position requires a candidate with the ability to develop innovative methodological and statistical tools, develop and conduct research, and can offer analytic and training support for population-based data related to the mission of the Center.

The University of Kentucky is committed to a diverse and inclusive workforce by ensuring all our students, faculty, and staff work in an environment of openness and acceptance. As an Equal Opportunity Employer, we strongly encourage veterans, individuals with disabilities, women, and all minorities to consider our employment opportunities.

Oregon’s Role in the National Partnership for Child Safety

5 children looking towards camera, arms around one another, smiling

Dr. Michael Cull, one of our Associate Directors at the Center for Innovation in Population Health, where the TCOM team works to address population health challenges through a TCOM framework, is assisting in leading the technical assistance efforts of the National Partnership for Child Safety (NPCS).

Dr. Michael Cull was recently interviewed to discuss the state of Oregon’s involvement and to give more insight into NPCS with Jefferson Public Radio, the NPR affiliate for Southern Oregon and Northern California.

The National Partnership for Child Safety (NPCS) is a national quality improvement collaborative to improve child safety and reduce child maltreatment fatalities through the application of safety science and shared data. NPCS currently brings together 26 jurisdictions nationally with a shared goal of strengthening families, promoting innovations, and a public health response to reducing and preventing child maltreatment and fatalities.

Oregon’s Role in the National Partnership for Child Safety

NPCS takes a systems approach to looking at child fatality incidents. When these events do occur, jurisdictions take a peer-to-peer learning model and share this data to a large number of systems to learn from one another. The goal of this data is to provide insights to help improvement in child welfare systems. NPCS is modeled after approaches in other fields with safety-critical settings, such as healthcare, aviation, and highways.

Dr. Cull shares in his interview how in these other safety-critical settings, a big component of preventing safe care was how humans were interacting with each other. Questions arose, such as ‘How do we standardize how we communicate with each other?’, ‘How do we create settings where people feel safe speaking up?’, and ‘How can we offer candid feedback when we are concerned about safety issues?’. That’s a place where NPCS leverages the learning from those other settings (e.g. hospitals, aviation, highways) to the systems within child welfare systems.

Oregon Department of Human Services

Oregon is one of 26 jurisdictions that have signed on and is in alignment to transform their entire child welfare system. They are attempting to improve child fatalities by building communities, reviewing how families are being served, what they can do differently in their work, and within their system to do a full transformation.

Oregon has become a leading example in this system. In fact, NPCS pairs new jurisdictions with Oregon because of how quickly they created a mature process looking at these critical incidents and then using the data to drive change. Tami Kane Suleiman, the Oregon Child Fatality Prevention & Review Manager at the Oregon Department of Human Services (DHS), says, “The benefit of NPCS is learning from other jurisdictions and sharing tools, rules, and procedures with multiple states around the country that are going through similar transformations.”

NPCS brings a set of principles, strategies, and techniques that are borrowed from other safety settings on how to take a look at these critical incidents and standardize the output. The goal is to continue to keep children safe by reducing and preventing child maltreatment and fatalities by understanding influences in the system and how they can make the system more effective.

To listen to Dr. Michael Cull’s interview with Jefferson Public Radio, you may listen here: “Oregon signs onto national partnership to reduce child abuse fatalities”.

2022 TCOM Conference: Call for Proposals

2022 TCOM Conference

September 21 – 23, 2022

New Orleans, Louisiana

Managing Change and All That Jazz

2022 TCOM Conference || Call for Proposals

Submit Here

We are excited to announce the 18th Annual TCOM (Transformational Collaborative Outcomes Management) Conference this year will take place in beautiful and vibrant New Orleans, September 21 – 23, 2022 at the JW Marriott New Orleans. The 18th Annual TCOM Conference will bring together a global audience who may be influenced by TCOM in various ways.

We invite those interested in presenting to submit their proposal to present at the 18th Annual TCOM Conference. The theme of the 2022 TCOM Conference is “Managing Change and All That Jazz”. The Call for Proposals will remain open until February 28, 2022 Friday, March 4, 2022. You may submit your proposal using our Call for Proposal form here

Before you submit your proposal, please see our TCOM Conference Submission Review Rubric for guidance on your submission. 

Be prepared to submit the following presentation information in your proposal submission:
  • Presenter Names & Emails
  • Presentation Title
  • Abstract of Presentation (500 words or less)
  • Outline of Presentation (bullet-point format)
  • 2-3 Learning Objectives (Learning Objectives & Guidelines)
  • Target Audience for Presentation
More information:

Proposal submissions will be considered for 1-hour breakout sessions during the 2022 TCOM Conference that will take place on Thursday, September 22, 2022, and Friday, September 23, 2022.

If you are requesting to present on a specific date, or would like to submit your proposal as a poster presentation, please specify this on the last section of the form, “Would you like to provide any other details about your presentation submission?”.

All proposal submissions will be reviewed by our Conference Program Committee. If you choose to submit a proposal, you will be notified in April 2022 of the status of your submission. If accepted, all presenters on the proposal will be notified via email. All accepted presentations may be requested to submit additional information as needed.

Registration for the 2022 TCOM Conference will be made available in May 2022. Presenter(s) will receive a discount rate for the conference. Presenter(s) are responsible for making their own hotel reservation(s). At this time, we are planning the 2022 TCOM Conference to be a hybrid experience; some presenters may be virtual. If you would like to be a virtual presenter, please specify this on your submission or reach out to Diamond Darling at

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q: How long is the Call for Proposals open for the 18th Annual TCOM Conference (2022)?
A: The Call for Proposals for the 2022 TCOM Conference is open through December 14, 2021, and will be closed on February 28, 2022 Friday, March 4, 2022.

Q: What is the deadline to complete a submission?
All submissions must be completed by February 28, 2022 Friday, March 4, 2022 at 23:59 PST in order to be considered for the 18th Annual TCOM Conference.

Q: What is the theme for the 18th Annual TCOM Conference?
A:  Managing Change and All That Jazz:

For the theme, we’d like people to focus on ‘change’ in the broadest sense. That might include looking at change among people served in an implementation. It can include change by clinical, supervisory or administrative staff. Or, the focus of your presentation could be policy changes. As with all years, we invite all who are interested to submit, but the idea of focusing on managing change is the overall 2022 TCOM Conference theme.

Q: What topic should I submit for consideration for the 18h Annual TCOM Conference?
A: For the annual TCOM Conference, we are always looking for a wide array of topics that are innovative, engaging, inspiring, and informative in relation to TCOM. We also have suggested topic categories available for you to use as inspiration.

Q: What should I provide for Learning Objectives?
A: A clear learning objective is a statement of what participants will know or be able to do when they have completed the presentation. Learning objectives must be observable and/or measurable. If you’re interested in more information, you can view the Learning Objectives Guidelines.

Q: Who is the audience for the TCOM Conference?
We invite all that are interested in TCOM to attend the annual TCOM Conference. Many of our attendees are direct care workers, social workers, researchers, agency/organization administrators, county/state directors, or even family members that are wanting to expand their knowledge of TCOM.

Q: How do I submit my proposal?
A: By completing the form submission at:
If you have trouble submitting this form, please email us at, and we will work on an alternative solution.

Q: How will I know if my proposal was submitted successfully?
A: Once you complete the Call for Proposal submission form, you will receive an email titled, “2022 TCOM Conference: Call for Proposals”, which will confirm that we have received your presentation proposal.

If you have any questions in regards to the 2022 TCOM Conference, please feel free to reach out to Diamond Darling, TCOM Conference Lead, at

And the Medallion Scavenger Hunt Winner is…

TCOM Poster
CDR Scavenger Hunt Poster – 2021 TCOM Conference

During the 2021 TCOM Conference, Community Data Roundtable (CDR) and the Praed Foundation hosted a conference-wide virtual scavenger hunt for all of our attendees!

Over 100 eager attendees participated in the TCOM Conference Scavenger Hunt, where we used horse-themed medallions with TCOM keywords for participants to find throughout the virtual conference.

Attendees were able to locate medallions in our virtual sponsor booths, poster sessions, and in all of our keynotes, roundtables, short courses, and break-out sessions!

We learned that many of our conference participants are fierce competitors, and some even used collaboration in the TCOM Conference virtual café with their fellow attendees to seek out medallions.

This was the case for our TCOM Conference Scavenger Hunt winner, Dr. Arabellys Hidalgo, Psy.D! Big congratulations!

Dr. Hidalgo, who is a bilingual supervisor for a children’s CMA and CANS Certified Coach for the CANS-NY Technical Assistance Institute-Downstate Region (CCF), used her due diligence, collaboration, and knowledge of TCOM to ultimately score the most points and win fabulous prizes provided by Community Data Roundtable (CDR) and the Praed Foundation.

At the end of the conference, Community Data Roundtable sent Dr. Hidalgo a horse-themed gift bag with a Starbucks gift card, fancy-coffee scented soap, and a signed copy of John Lyons’  Communimetrics.

We thank all who participated and soaked up some TCOM knowledge in the Scavenger Hunt and the TCOM Conference. We look forward to seeing everyone next year in New Orleans for the 2022 TCOM Conference.

Community Data Roundtable‘s Dan Warner put together a video highlighting Dr. Hidalgo receiving her prize, which features CDR and Dr. John Lyons awarding this year’s winner via Zoom.

To see the video that Community Data Roundtable put together, please click the link below:

Highlights of the 2021 TCOM Conference Scavenger Hunt winner, Dr. Arabellys Hidalgo, receiving her prize.

Ecological Dispruptions & Well-Being Among Children in Foster Care

Boy holding onto wooden swing seat in the Autumn Season. Young girl out of focus in background

Written by: John Lyons, PhD

As you likely are all aware, the body of research using TCOM and its related tools has been growing rapidly over the past few years.

We want to help make the findings of these research efforts accessible to the larger TCOM collaborative community. Therefore, we are creating brief videos describing the research and highlighting findings of relevance to policy and practice. We will be highlighting these videos on our TCOM YouTube Channel.

We are pleased to share the first of these from Lauren Hindt, PhD and Scott Leon, PhD, from the Promoting Adjustment in Children through Evaluation (PACE) Lab at Loyola University of Chicago. Lauren and Scott have studied the impact of environmental connections and disruptions on the wellbeing of children in child welfare. Here is a link to their video describing this work:

If you haven’t already, please subscribe to the TCOM Channel. If you appreciate Lauren and Scott’s work, please ‘Like’ their video. If you are doing work, please consider recording your own video that we can post on the channel to share findings across the collaborative.

Thank you, Lauren and Scott! And thanks to all of you for what you do on behalf of others.

John Lyons, PhD

What If You Could Find Your Ideal Psychotherapy Treatment Before Seeing a Therapist?

The What IPH (if) Seminar Series is hosted by the Center for Innovation in Population Health, University of Kentucky. Our goal with the What IPH series is to present innovative ideas that can apply to the public health space. We invite all those that are interested in this topic to attend this free event.

You’re Invited!

Next week, we are hosting the webinar, “What If You Could Find Your Ideal Psychotherapy Treatment Before Seeing a Therapist?“, which is a free event for all to attend. This webinar will take place Tuesday, November 2nd, from 2:00 – 3:00 pm EST via Zoom.

What IPH Seminar Series Flyer

The seminar speaker for this event is Matt Southward, Ph.D. – Postdoctoral Research Scholar in the Department of Psychology at the University of Kentucky.

About the Webinar:

Every time someone sees a therapist, their course of treatment is unique because every person is unique.

However, the uniqueness of each treatment relies on therapists using their best judgment as the treatment unfolds. Researchers on treatment personalization are working to develop precision medicine models that can predict a patient’s best course of treatment from the outset and better inform therapists’ judgments.

Matt Southward, Ph.D. will provide the latest findings on how well these models work, introduce novel approaches to personalization under development, and discuss competing approaches to improving population mental health.

About the Speaker:

Matthew Southward, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Research Scholar in the Department of Psychology at the University of Kentucky

Matt is a Postdoctoral Research Scholar in the Department of Psychology at the University of Kentucky. He received his Ph.D. in 2019 from The Ohio State University working with Dr. Jennifer S. Cheavens, and completed his pre-doctoral internship at Duke University Medical Center. He is interested in using open science practices with translational behavioral research to better understand, optimize, and personalize the processes of change in therapy, specifically among those with mood, anxiety, and personality disorders.

To this end, he has investigated facets of emotion regulation flexibility, the quality of participants’ emotion regulation skills, and the role of acceptance- and change-based skills on within- and between-person changes in CBTs broadly. His research has been supported by funding from the NIH and Ohio State. Matt also currently serves as the Social Media Coordinator for the Society of Clinical Psychology (APA Division 12) and is a member of UK Psychology’s Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Team.

Event Information:

This free webinar is hosted by the Center for Innovation in Population Health. Our goal with our What IPH series is to present innovative ideas that can apply to the public health space. We invite all University of Kentucky faculty, staff, students, and the TCOM Collaborative to join us for our seminar series. 

Let’s Recap: 2021 TCOM Conference

Getting A Leg Up On TCOM | October 6 – 8, 2021 | Virtual Conference

The 17th Annual TCOM Conference took place virtually from October 6 – 8, 2021. Over 400 people gathered to “Get A Leg Up On TCOM”. We appreciate those that attended and thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedules to spend time with us virtually learning and sharing.

While we were sad that we were unable to convene in person this year, we are still happy that we could continue connecting with each other about the good work going on around the TCOM world. Thank you for your support and participation.

If you attended this year’s TCOM Conference, you will still be able to review the Slide Decks and additional materials from the 2021 TCOM Conference in Socio. We will have the presentation recordings available on all public platforms in a few months time.

This year’s conference theme is ‘Get-A-Leg Up on TCOM’ and it is apropos given that all of us needed to identify our own needs & strengths in successfully managing challenges. We hope you left the 2021 TCOM Conference mindful of our ability to have a positive impact in the lives of those you serve.

We would like to recognize the recipients of the 2021 TCOM Champion Awards:

Kathy Gracey, MEd – Recipient of the 2021 TCOM Founders Award

For her longstanding commitment to improving the lives of children and families through practice improvements and research.

Karen Bryant, LMSW – Recipient of 2021 TCOM System Champion Award

For her passion, commitment, and leadership in improving systems for children and families.

Jenn Lockwood, CRC, LMHC – Recipient of 2021 TCOM Program Champion Award

For her leadership and tenacity in applying TCOM principles to clinical practice.

For Your Review:

2021 TCOM Conference Schedule

2021 TCOM Conference Brochure

2021 TCOM Conference – CE Qualifying Sessions

2021 TCOM Conference Sponsors:

The TCOM Conferences are made possible by the individuals who organize and manage the conference and all of our sponsors. Thank you to Casey Family ProgramsOpeeka, Magellan HealthFidelity EHR, UKFCU, Praxes, and Community Data Roundtable.


We feel so fortunate that you helped make this year’s conference the success that it was, and we hope you can join us in New Orleans, LA for the 18th Annual TCOM Conference, September 21 – 23, 2022.

2021 TCOM Conference: What to Expect

The 17th Annual TCOM Conference is just 15 days away! Below you’ll find some information that may be helpful to you as an attendee, or if you are still figuring out if you want to attend, please read below and feel free to reach out to us at

We hope you join us.

Register today:


The 17th Annual TCOM Conference will feature 28 presentations, 4 keynotes, 4 short courses, and 6 roundtables. All with the focus of TCOM (Transformational Collaborative Outcomes Management). For more information, we invite you to look at our Draft Agenda for more information on the sessions available:

CEUS (Continuing Education Credits):
  • UK Healthcare CECentral certifies this activity for 16 hours of participation.
  • Social workers completing this course receive 16 general* continuing education credits.
  • For additional accreditation information:
Session Access:

All sessions will be accessed through our virtual event platform, Socio app. All sessions will be hosted through Zoom. You will automatically be embedded into our event platform once this is live, October 4, 2021. Sessions will begin Wednesday, October 6, 2021.

Swag Packs and Addresses:

Now that we are convening virtually for this year’s TCOM Conference, we are requesting your address information so that we may send you Conference Swag as a thank you for attending our 17th Annual TCOM Conference. This will be completely free for all attendees.

You may fill out this information here: 2021 TCOM Conference | Address

If you originally registered as an in-person attendee, we do not have your address information on file and request you complete the address survey. If you registered as a virtual attendee then you do not need to fill out the link.

This year’s TCOM Conference Swag is provided by this year’s sponsors: Casey Family Programs, Opeeka, Fidelity EHR, Magellan Health, UKFCU, Community Data Roundtable, and Praxes Model.

Other Questions?

You can subscribe to the TCOM Conferences mailing list, and also follow our blog,, for updates on the 2021 TCOM Conference. Please reach out to for any other additional questions.

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The Need for TCOM-365, Not Just 3 Days

Written By: Ken McGill, EdS, LMFT

By now, you may have heard the news about this year’s conference moving completely to a virtual platform. Serving as chair, I was so hopeful for an in-person experience, and the planning was taking place right up to the very last minute for this to happen. However, with the continued impact of COVID and the delta-variant on states, counties, and individual communities, there was no other choice but to keep health and safety paramount. In fact, each week since January 7th the Conference Planning Committee has met to prepare for the 17th Annual TCOM Conference.

As chairperson, I witnessed firsthand the many facets connected to preparations for a worldwide 3-day conference. On Thursday mornings at 9:00 am, a dedicated group of individuals came together to outline each step needed to move us towards the completion and kick-off of an amazing conference. This conference was an event that I looked forward to from the moment last year’s conference ended. In many ways the 2020 Conference really did not end for me, rather it expanded into a weekly and monthly experience where TCOM was alive and part of my daily life.

Last year’s conference had to be setup in a way that paralleled the shift we all made back in March of 2020. The worldwide pandemic abruptly created an overnight switch to a new virtual world, where we worked from home, children/youth attended school virtually, and tried to remain connected to our community. Our once in-person world morphed to totally online with a ‘flick of a switch’ and technology became our ‘life-line’ to the outside world. We all managed as we moved forward throughout 2020 and most of 2021. All of us began to laugh and look back at the mishaps we experienced working from home; everything from testing our internet bandwidth, to our children and pets entering the room letting us know that they were hungry or just wanted to play.

The 2020 TCOM Conference was a success because of the work of so many who were able to shift to a completely virtual platform for three full days of amazing sharing. The conference continued the journey of the past 16 years of Transformational Collaborative Outcomes Management. The takeaway for me was not about the event being held online, but that conversations were continuing in support of the work being done throughout the world. The work will always be the ‘take-away’ for everyone who is part of the TCOM Collaborative. I remember Dr. Lyons discussing the importance of ‘remoralization’ of the shared vision, whereby clearly defining our work as transformational in serving those in need of assistance, support, and care.

TCOM-365 will actively support the work of those who have attended conferences in the past, who will attend this year, and those who may have never have the opportunity to attend the actual event. We will be bringing TCOM worldwide through our transformative collaborations.

So, I would like to re-moralize this blog message for a clear ‘take-away’ as we move closer to the October 6th start of the 2021 TCOM Conference. Since our world continues to be greatly impacted by less than positive events, let’s all make a commitment to enhance the purpose of TCOM by expanding it from a 3-day event to 365-days of collaborative activities. We must recognize that each of us not only play an important role as change agents in our work, but also in our homes and throughout our communities. TCOM-365 will actively support the work of those who have attended conferences in the past, who will attend this year, and those who may have never have the opportunity to attend the actual event. We will be bringing TCOM worldwide through our transformative collaborations.

Here are just some of the ways to start TCOM-365 today:

1. You may sign up for the TCOM YouTube Channel to listen, learn and share.

2. You can also go to and read up on the blogs and write up a blog about your work and share your ideas for the world to read.

3. If you haven’t already done so, review the Conference draft agenda. If you like what see you can make sure to attend the session.

If you are a little more adventurous, you may want to email the presenter(s) with some questions to learn more about their work. For example, I will be co-facilitating a session with Lizzie Minton-Kentucky Child Welfare Clinical Consultant, “Using the CANS to Engage and Support Children & Families-Beyond Certification & Compliance” if you were to email me at we would be sure to include those answers during our presentation.

TCOM-365 is needed more than ever to strengthen our world-wide collaboration; especially in the efforts to support our workforce and their well-being as they continue to navigate challenges. When I was putting together a webinar back in August, I reached out to several key individuals who embody the essence of TCOM. There were four amazing panelists who shared their time and knowledge around ‘A Collaborative Discussion: Workforce Well-Being, Post-COVID Challenges & Opportunities’

In this spirit of TCOM-365, let us hear from each of you on the ways we all can actively support this shift from 3-days to the entire year of transformational collaboration outcomes management! Remember to sign up for the TCOM YouTube Channel just click here, read and contribute to TCOM Conversations to the blog just click here and if you want to make a difference in our world just click here and continue to do what you do to make this world a better place (the last click here is for you to fill in and share with all of us!).

Looking forward to all the tomorrows leading up to TCOM Conference 2021 and beyond!

Moving Virtually – 2021 TCOM Conference

Message from the TCOM Team:

After careful discussion and consideration, the TCOM Team has decided to move the 17th Annual TCOM Conference, scheduled for October 6 – 8, 2021, to a solely virtual format. This decision was not made without significant deliberation.

In light of the COVID-19 Delta Variant and the rising number in cases, and the additional ways that the pandemic has affected travel budgets, travel restrictions, and in-person events, we will instead be convening the 2021 TCOM Conference entirely virtually on Socio and Zoom. This decision was made overall to ensure the safety of our collaborative.

All presenters, team members, and attendees will participate remotely. We will be transferring all current registrants automatically to our virtual Cloud Attendee ticket. This means that all presentations will now be available for virtual attendees.

Please stay tuned. We will continue to keep you updated through email (Subscribe to our email list) as we roll out new information about this year’s now virtual TCOM Conference.

Please contact us with any additional questions or concerns you may have at

Be Well & Stay Safe,

The TCOM Team

Virtual Conference Updates

Time Change:

Since we have transitioned the 2021 TCOM Conference to a fully virtual platform, we have moved the start time of the conference to be 11:00 AM EST (8:00 AM PST) to better accommodate all of our attendees and presenters who are planning to join us from the safety of their homes and offices. 

New Schedule:
New Cost:

We have adjusted the price for the 2021 TCOM Conference to be $180.00 for the 3-Day event. This will include virtual access to all sessions and our virtual event platform. Please note that all sessions will be recorded. You can purchase tickets through Socio:

Session Access:

All sessions will be accessed through our virtual event platform, Socio app. All sessions will be hosted through Zoom.

Other Questions?

You can subscribe to the TCOM Conferences mailing list, and also follow our blog,, for updates on the 2021 TCOM Conference. Please reach out to for any other additional questions.

TCOM Conference’s COVID-19 Health Policy 

The TCOM Team’s updated COVID-19 Health Policy for the 2021 TCOM Conference.

*Important Announcement related to COVID-19 and the 2021 TCOM Conference.*

We are excited to welcome the TCOM Collaborative to the bluegrass state in Lexington, Kentucky for the 2021 TCOM Conference at the Hyatt Regency Lexington on October 6-8th, 2021.

To assure the optimal safety of all attendees, this year’s TCOM Conference in Lexington will require either evidence of full vaccination1 OR a negative PCR test for COVID-19 within 72 hours (3 days) prior to in-person conference check-in at the hotel. We will follow CDC and University of Kentucky guidelines regarding masks and social distancing during the conference.

We are confident that vaccines are safe, effective, and crucial to end the pandemic. We are also confident that public health precautions like hand-washing and mask-wearing are compassionate, safe, and simple practices. However, we accept everyone’s right to make choices that feel best to them. If you do not wish to follow these requirements, we can either switch your registration to the virtual conference track or provide you with a full refund. 

We are looking forward to seeing you all in Lexington in October. We are committed to making the conference engaging, informative, fun, and safe for everyone. 

Additional COVID-19 Information:
Entry Requirements
  • At in-person check-in at the hotel for the 2021 TCOM Conference, bring a copy of your COVID-19 Vaccination Card or Negative COVID-19 PCR test result (showing test date).
  • Regardless of vaccination status, you will be required to wear a mask throughout the 2021 TCOM Conference.
We ask that you not attend if any of the following is true for you or anyone in your party:
  • Within 14 days before attending the conference you have tested positive, or been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19;
  • Within 72 hours prior to attending the conference, you have experienced symptoms of COVID-19 (e.g., a fever of 100.4F or higher, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, chills, repeated shaking muscle pain/achiness, headache, sore throat, loss of taste or smell, nasal congestion, runny nose, vomiting, diarrhea, fatigue or any other symptoms associated with COVID-19 identified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention);
  • Within 14 days prior to attending the conference, you have travelled to any international territory identified by federal or applicable state or local governments as being subject to travel or quarantine advisories due to COVID-19.

These policies are subject to change, in accordance with state and local guidelines and changing circumstances. We will be updating procedures as necessary as we get closer to October 6, 2021.

If you have questions about the COVID-19 vaccines or need resources to find a vaccination location near you, please check out​

1 2 weeks after the second dose in a 2-dose series, such as the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or 2 weeks after a single-dose vaccine, such as Johnson & Johnson.

If you have any questions related to the 2021 TCOM Conference and our Health Policy, please contact Diamond at

Safety Culture and Child Welfare with Vermont

Just like in aviation and the nuclear industry, child welfare is a safety critical industry and high stakes high consequence decisions are made every day by child welfare workers and caregivers.

Dr. Michael Cull, Associate Director for the Center for Innovation in Population Health (IPH Center), was recently interviewed in Welcome to the Field, a podcast for child welfare professionals, caregivers, and community partners. This podcast is hosted by Cassie Gillespie and Pete Cudney at the University of Vermont’s Child Welfare Training Partnership.

Dr. Cull discusses his work applying safety science in child welfare, and the work he is doing in Vermont as part of the IPH Center’s support for the National Partnership for Child Safety.

Listen Below:

*Information from this post was found on Vermont’s Child Welfare Training Partnership, which you may find here: Safety Culture with Dr. Michael Cull – Vermont Child Welfare Training Partnership (

Early Bird Gets The Discount

*please note that the 2021 TCOM Conference has now been moved to a fully virtual format*

Early-bird discounts for in-person 2021 TCOM Conference tickets will be ending July 31st, 2021.

Register by 11:59PM EST Saturday, July 31st, to receive 25% off your ticket!

For those that have yet to attend an in-person TCOM Conference, we think you will find it a unique conference experience of a large group of committed and humble people seeking to share and learn from each other. We hope you join us in growing this culture of collaboration. 

If you are interested in Sponsoring the 17th Annual TCOM Conference, take a look at our Sponsor Brochure or connect with the Diamond, our Conference Lead, at

Poster Submissions for the 2021 TCOM Conference are accepted until August 20, 2021. Please check out our Call for Posters for more information.

3-Day Early-Bird Rate: $338

Now – July 31, 2021

Discounted ticket for in-person admission to the TCOM Conference, Oct 6-8, 2021.

*All food during the conference is covered in this ticket*

3-Day Regular Rate: $450

Starts August 1st

TCOM Conference 3-day in-person admission, Oct 6-8, 2021.

*All food during the conference is covered in this ticket*

Virtual: $180

Starts August 1st

Limited streamed and virtual presentations available.

The Praed Foundation has applied for continuing education credits through CECentral. Confirmation of credit hours available will be posted in October.

For group rates, please contact our team at For questions other than group rates, we ask that you contact us at

For refunds and frequently asked questions, please visit our 17th Annual TCOM Conference page.

10 Seconds to Make a Difference – National Be Someone Day

by: Mark Lardner, LCSW, Center for Innovation in Population Health

Every July 21st, National Be Someone Day, challenges each of us to take ten seconds to make a difference in a child’s life.

The mission of the TCOM community has always been to elevate the shared vision of the people and the communities that serve them. We believe that every day we can play a part in helping improve the lives of the children, families and adults we serve.  That being said, today is “National Be Someone Day”. Project Be Someone encourages the broader community to commit to making a difference in a child’s life. 

You are part of the solution. #BeSomeone from

We’d like to echo their call and add that this is a good day to highlight the work that all of you do on behalf of children.  More than ever we are aware of the lasting impact that child trauma experiences can have on across the lifespan. As a community we are aware of the benefits of being better prepared to recognize, discuss and work to prevent the trauma experiences for children in our communities.  

There are a few ideas on the Project Harmony on how to be supportive, but we’d like to add a few of our own:

  • Reach out to a colleagues working directly with children and their families and let them know how much you appreciate what they do.
  • Highlight information within your agency that supports the continued work around prevention.
  • Highlight and support resources for family and children in your community.

So let’s celebrate “National Be Someone Day” together and thanks for all you do to continue making the work about the people we serve.

Pre-Conference Vignette-A-Thon

Black typewriter

By: Lynn Steiner, MSW, Center for Innovation in Population Health

Calling all writers! Would you like to receive a discount to the TCOM Conference in 2022 in New Orleans? Would you like to win recognition and prizes? Then read on!

People and society constantly learn and grow, and sometimes our ideas and strategies become outdated or incomplete and we need to update them. As a result, we need to also update our training materials. Training vignettes are a piece of this. We are constantly adding (and sometimes removing, sometimes revising) vignettes but we are always in need of fresh vignettes and there are also gaps in certain areas that we want to reduce.

To that end, we are announcing a vignette-a-thon, an event to allow us to expand our pool of potential vignettes in areas where they are most needed. Submit a vignette that meets the following criteria (per our review), and you’ll receive a discount on next year’s conference registration. Virtually attend the Conference this year and you’ll receive prizes for submissions during our social hour.

[Note: By submitting your vignette to us, you give Praed permission to revise and/or use this vignette in training and it becomes the property of Praed.]

Here’s what you need to do:
  1. Review the criteria below.
Criterion: pick (at least) one per row
Age0 thru 518 thru 21Dependent adult with caregiver65+Family: at least one caregiver and one child
NeedsDevelopmental, medical and/or cognitiveComplex needs: developmental or cognitive + mental healthComplex needs: medical + mental healthComplex needs: trauma + medical + mental healthSubstantial actionable needs but also usable strengths.
CharacteristicsNon-traditional family structure: multigenerational; same-sex parents; single fatherMulti-racial/ethnic familyRural locationIncludes response post natural disaster, war/terrorism trauma, and/or current event but generalized (e.g., immigration-focused like a child separated from parent at border, or COVID-like virus).Integration of culture (including Native American), gender identity (including transgender) or sexual identity throughout the vignette.
Criteria for the 2021 Vignette-a-thon

2. Pick at least one criterion from each row and create your vignette. Good vignettes include both NEEDS and USABLE STRENGTHS (0, 1) to be scored, and are 1 to 1.5 pages long.

3. Score your vignette for the version of the assessment tool that you are using (make it clear what version that is) and include rationales for all of your ratings.

4. Submit your vignette, ratings and rationales to with an email titled “Vignette-A-Thon Submission” by September 13, 2021. If you meet the criteria, you will receive a 50% discount* for the 2022 New Orleans TCOM Conference and be entered into a giveaway*!

5. Attend the 2021 Virtual TCOM Conference.

For questions about vignettes generally, or how to craft a good one, please contact Lynn Steiner at

Prizes for the 2021 Pre-Conference Vignette-A-Thon:
  • All people who submit a Vignette will receive a 50% discount* for registration for the 2022 New Orleans TCOM Conference if their submission meets the criteria.
  • The Top 3 Submissions will receive 1 free pass* to the 2022 New Orleans TCOM Conference.
  • There will be a giveaway* that will allow 3 Winners to receive a prize, which will be presented during the 2021 Virtual TCOM Conference.

* The discount and free pass do not include travel, lodging, or food. 3 winners will also be selected for the giveaway during the 2021 Virtual TCOM Conference, and must attend the 2021 Virtual TCOM Conference to receive a prize.

Download Now:

LIVE NOW: Registration for 2021 TCOM Conference

The 2021 TCOM Conference will take place in-person in Lexington, Kentucky virtually, October 6 – 8, 2021. Registration is now available:

Grounded in a philosophy of generating a shared vision to help people and their communities achieve wellness goals, Transformational Collaborative Outcomes Management (TCOM) is an approach shared among thousands of professionals and advocates worldwide. For nearly two decades, the national TCOM Conference has provided a platform for the field to meet up, develop their skills, and share their knowledge. This year, experts and professionals throughout the field will gather to focus upon a theme of “Getting A Leg-Up on TCOM,” in Lexington, Kentucky-October 6-8, 2021 virtually.

Registration for the 17th TCOM Conference is available now.

Draft Schedule with updated times:

TCOM: Building Momentum for Shared Vision

This is a prime opportunity to engage with us and our work. In the last year, the COVID-19 pandemic expanded racial and socioeconomic disparities in our communities and institutions. Our relationships are more strained and remote, our communities increasingly divided. At this alienating moment, the TCOM Conference brings a field of disparate professionals together to develop a shared vision. Using that vision, the momentum of the TCOM field carries forward lessons learned, links findings, and transforms healthcare, child welfare, behavioral health, and other complex systems for the better.

TCOM: Pulling Around the Bend Together

What is more, the TCOM approach has a long-standing reputation and body of work – for years, past TCOM Conferences and the larger world-wide TCOM Collaborative have provided a platform for innovative thinking & sharing across all systems. Over decades of building the field, the Collaborative has shared a wealth of information and knowledge about systems of care. That said, the far reach of TCOM approach does also create a diaspora of experts and data and findings throughout the world. TCOM Conferences lead the charge in breaking down siloes and bringing thought leaders together in order to create transformation and implement systems improvement.

Through the TCOM Conference, we build momentum to serve youth & families in equitable and transformative ways. We hope that you will join us.

To book your hotel stay for the 17th TCOM Conference, visit the Hyatt Regency Lexington. This conference has been moved to a fully virtual format.

The annual TCOM Conference isn’t possible without the generous support we’ve received over the years. If you are interested in becoming a sponsor, please reach out to or check out our Sponsorship Guide.

TCOM Certified Trainer Training

We are hosting a virtual workshop June 16 – 17, 2021 for those that are interested in being a certified Trainer in either the ANSA or CANS.

If you are already certified in either the ANSA (Adult Needs and Strengths Assessment) or CANS (Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths), 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, you are required to attend a Certified Trainer Training that takes a deeper dive into the key concepts of TCOM.

The TCOM Certified Trainer Training virtual workshop is designed for ANSA or CANS certified individuals who have completed the ANSA or CANS Orientation and TCOM Overview course and are interested in coaching and/or training their staff on the ANSA or CANS. Key concepts and skills will be practiced through small group discussions, exercises and activities.

More information below:
Pre-requisite: CANS & ANSA Overview Training
Date: June 16 – 17, 2021
Time: 11am – 5pm, EST
Where: Virtual (Zoom)
Cost: $150/person
Deadline to register: June 9, 2021

Please contact Laura Rogers at for more information and/or to register.

*please note that space is limited to 25 people for this training

Italy’s 5th TCOM Conference

As a part of our quarterly blog series, International Implementation, we would like to highlight Italy’s 5th TCOM Conference.

Since 2017, our partners in Italy have hosted a conference dedicated to the CANS and TCOM. This year’s conference, titled, “CANS tools to learn about users’ clinical histories and their transformations over time: collaboration and outcome assessment“, will be May 27 – 28, 2021.

The experience of the pandemic has once again highlighted the crucial importance of promoting the neuropsychic health of children and adolescents and the articulated problems it presents. In a context accompanied by the dizzying growth of complex neuropsychic needs, the increase in demand and user access, and a dispersed, uneven and resource-based system that was already largely insufficient before the impact of the pandemic, the promotion of collaborative practices oriented towards user transformations and outcome assessment becomes a crucial and innovative perspective to face future challenges.

During the conference, the implementation of CANS tools in Italy and in the United States will be presented, for the promotion of collaborative practices oriented to outcome evaluation. In the US, about 80% of children and adolescents in care of mental health services receive an assessment through CANS. In Italy, there are about 1000 trained operators, 80 agencies involved, 7 interinstitutional research projects, and others still in the planning phase. During the training days, reflections will be presented starting from clinical research conducted with the use of the instruments of the CANS family, and the operators will be confronted with the usefulness, strengths and limits and possible future developments of this innovative approach. The course is free and will take place online. ECM accreditation is expected.

If you’re interested in learning more about the tools of the CANS family in the Italian experience, check out this book written by Stefano Benzoni, Maria Antonella Costantino, and John S. Lyons: Participation and outcome assessment in developmental mental health

Participation and outcome assessment in developmental mental health John S. Lyons - Erickson

Registration for the 5th Italy TCOM Conference has closed.

This information was provided by the TCOM Italia Conference website:

Have a Moment?

The TCOM Team has created an audience survey, and would appreciate your participation: Audience Survey

As TCOM has grown, so have the members of the community we serve. We understand that continued communication with the TCOM Collaborative and understanding who you are is an important part in our goal to continue to connect and collaborate with you.

As members of the TCOM Collaborative, we are interested in understanding your perception of the three brands we serve, as well as learning a bit about yourself, your job, and how familiar you are with us.

Our intention with our survey is purely to understand our audience in order to service the TCOM Collaborative to the best of our ability. Your responses will provide valuable feedback which will shape our communication in the coming year. We would appreciate your participation in our audience survey, and ask that you please click on the link below.

Audience Survey (

We would be incredibly grateful for your help, and we thank you for your time.

*The data collected is processed for our own purposes and is not shared with any third parties outside the Praed Foundation. Further, this data is under no circumstances used for other purposes or sold.

ACRC: 65th Annual Conference

The ACRC is currently requesting Call for Papers for their 65th Annual Conference. The deadline to submit is April 30, 2021.

The Association of Children’s Residential Centers provides a network of learning and support, and advocates for quality residential interventions for children. They are dedicated to being a powerful international voice for best practices and innovation in the field.

The Association of Children’s Residential Centers is seeking presentations for its 65th Annual Conference, to be held August 3-6, 2021, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The ACRC is seeking abstract submissions from presenters willing to present live: in-person, virtually, or in either format. They also offer a robust poster presentation session both in person and virtually. Presenters with the voice of lived experience and/or who reflect the diversity of the populations we serve are especially encouraged to submit.

It is inarguable that the children and families we serve deserve both access and excellence when they experience mental and behavioral health interventions. This conference is intended to acknowledge those intrinsic rights and to support providers in that goal. Building on 64 years of laser focus on best practices, the ACRC’s 2021 annual conference will take on an overarching theme of Quality.

The deadline to submit a proposal for the ACRC 2021 conference is Friday, April 30, 2021. You can submit a proposal and find more information at their website: Call for Papers | ACRC (

Visit the ACRC’s conference page to learn more about keynotes, schedule of events, and how you can participate.

ACRC Banner

Information in this blog post was provided by the ACRC’s website at Annual Conference | ACRC (

Saw Han Quah, Ph.D.

Saw Han Quah is a Clinical Psychologist in private practice in Singapore. For the past 20 years, Saw Han has worked with children, young persons and their parents in relation to child protection, juvenile crime and family issues. Prior to private practice, Saw Han worked as a Principal Clinical Psychologist and Assistant Director at a government department dealing with rehabilitation and protection cases. She has a wide range of interests: parenting, disabilities, child development and protection, mental health (especially trauma, resilience and children of mentally ill parents), family therapy, programme implementation and evaluation, research, learning and behaviour, and issues related to burnout. Saw Han has been a trainer and involved with the implementation of TCOM tools like CANS (Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths) and FAST (Family Advocacy and Support Tool – called the Family and Adult Support Tool in Singapore) for the past 10 years.



Lea Wong, MA

Lea Wong, Assistant Director, Children Services, oversees the Children Services Case Management in Mother’s Choice and she is passionate in child welfare and committed to be the voice for children in their best interests to pursue their permanency plan. Lea takes lead of developing the first self-financed fostering program in Hong Kong called Project Bridge and with the vision to enhance the current foster care system in Hong Kong. She works directly with social workers and the leadership team to bring the CANS, an evidence-based tool, to Hong Kong with the vision to transform practice and measure outcomes for children and families. Lea is a certified user and trainer for CANS in Hong Kong.

Lea holds a Degree in Social Work and Master Degree in Counselling from the University of Hong Kong. She is a highly motivated professional with comprehensive employment background in which she developed an extensive experience of supporting, developing and motivating teams to do better and to drive continuous improvements across a range of work activities. She describes herself as compassionate with logical, problem-solving skills and ability to work positively with people from diverse background while her wide-ranging background offers much versatility and a commitment to excellence. Lea and her family are an approved Bridge Family, and they have fostered 5 children since 2017. In the future, Lea wants her passion and commitment to be continuously focused on working with those vulnerable children and to learn and grow professionally in order to provide the best services possible to the community.


How is Implementation of the CANS Outside of the U.S? – featuring Mother’s Choice in Hong Kong

Child Care Home at Bowen Road Hong Kong

by: Lea Wong and Saw Han Quah

Recognizing the valuable TCOM work that is being engaged in around the world, we are excited to announce a quarterly blog series that will focus on implementation in different countries. These posts will provide information on implementation considerations, challenges and learning opportunities, and will give a peek into how places outside of the United States are using the TCOM tools.

We begin this series with an implementation of the Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths (CANS) in its early stages in Hong Kong by Mother’s Choice, a local charity serving children without families and pregnant teenagers. The following is an interview with Dr. Saw Han Quah, Clinical Psychologist in private practice in Singapore, and Lea Wong, MA, Assistant Director, Children Services at Mother’s Choice, in which they discuss their efforts to implement the CANS.

Question: Praed (P): What TCOM tool(s) are you using?

Answer: Lea Wong (LW): Since 2018, Mother’s Choice has implemented the CANS adapting it to the Hong Kong context. Our vision is to see every child in a loving family, and our mission is to join hands with our community to give hope and change the life stories of vulnerable girls and babies.  We support three main target clients:

  • Children in care: At Mother’s Choice, we run a Child Care Home for children aged 0-6 years and foster care services for children aged 0-18.
  • Youth: Girls facing crisis pregnancy, and those who may be at risk of facing crisis pregnancy (primary & secondary school students).
  • Families: Foster families, adoptive families, and struggling birth families.

To date, we have integrated the CANS reporting tool in our service delivery and case management for children and youth.

P: Why did you decide to use this tool?

LW: Every day, as social workers, we have the privilege to hear and witness the life stories of our vulnerable clients. As they share their experiences and seek help, we, along with multiple professionals, retell parts of their stories, based on our specific skills and focus. Case Management at Mother’s Choice is a collaborative process of assessment, planning, care coordination, intervention, and advocacy to meet a child and their family’s needs, all working towards placing that child in a safe, permanent, loving family as soon as possible. We take a holistic and shared approach to each case: social workers, medical professionals, supervisors all work in partnership towards a shared vision for the child.  Our case management framework needed this tool to reliably and succinctly communicate a client’s status, the focus of care and the level of intervention needed, enabling us to monitor our client’s needs and the impact of our interventions.

At the agency level we also needed to monitor our programs, their impact, and their outcomes in a systematic and consistent way, using evidenced based data and best practices to review our program design and performance, in order to drive continuous improvement in our services.

Our Deputy COO Helene Rao stumbled upon the CANS tool whilst researching IT solutions for a case management system. We were fortunate enough to hear more about the IT transformation and the use of CANS from the Casey Foundation, which then led us to speaking with Dr John Lyons. We had explored many different assessment tools to measure the all-rounded needs of our clients aged from 0 to 25 years. CANS and its standardized scale to collate information reliably on needs and strengths of a client gave us a clear framework to streamline our processes and flow of information.

The change management that followed was no small feat! Most of our team was a little sceptical and overwhelmed at first, but we were very fortunate to partner with Dr Saw Han Quah who had the rich experience of going through a similar process in Singapore. As Saw Han made regular trips to Hong Kong to see her family, she very kindly and patiently sat with us to map out the next steps!

P: How are you implementing the CANS?

LW: We spent around a year researching on CANS, dialoguing and evaluating our readiness so as to ensure that this was the right tool for our agency. We then mapped out an implementation plan, starting with the contextualization process for its use in Hong Kong.

Dr Saw Han Quah was invaluable in this process. Introduced to us by Dr Lyons, we leaned on  Saw Han’s rich experience as a clinical psychologist in the Ministry of Social and Family Development from 2010 to 2015 tasked with implementing the CANS and FAST.  Singapore was the first Asian country to have adapted and implemented the CANS. Together, we discussed and refined the definitions of our CANS items taking into consideration the similarities in culture between Hong Kong and Singapore. Mother’s Choice contextualized a 0-6 years old version and a 7-25 years old version of the CANS manual based on our client profile and services nature, including modules for pregnant and parenting teens.

We first embedded the use of CANS into our case management processes for children aged 0 to 6 years placed in our child care home and foster care. Their individual baseline CANS is completed within 90 days after admission and every 3 to 6 months thereafter or whenever there is a significant change.  Using the CANS data collected, we developed an algorithm to measure the complexity and intensity of cases which helps to inform our casework decisions, the level of care needed to provide targeted services. This first rollout required initial training and coaching to our team of social workers as well as ongoing workshops and reviews to ensure a consistent and reliable use of the tool to drive treatment planning and program design.

The next step was to repeat this process for older children, partnering with our Youth and Pregnant Girls team to address the specific needs of a parenting or pregnant teen. Leveraging our learnings and past experience, the process was a lot quicker! The 7-25 years old CANS has just been endorsed by the Praed Foundation in December 2020.

P: What stage of implementation are you in? How long since you began implementation?

Saw Han Quah (SHQ) and LW: We began in December 2018,  certifying all of Mother’s Choice social workers to use the children aged 0-6 years CANS and have since then rolled out the CANS for all clients aged 7-25 years. Our implementation of the CANS was accompanied by a parallel rollout of the technology tools to manage cases and collect CANS data electronically, so as to facilitate the process. With the systems in place, we are now just beginning on our journey of data analysis and reporting.

P: What barriers have you faced? What would you tell others to prepare for?

SHQ and LW: Colleagues at Mother’s Choice have most often been trained in the use of psychometric tools, and the CANS, being a communimetric tool, required time, training and regular reviews of case studies to fully understand its application in our services beyond the theory.

Our work relies heavily on communicating our vision for clients with a large stakeholder group, including clients and their family members, professionals from the government and other community agencies. Being one of the first agencies in Hong Kong to integrate the CANS into our case management processes, it will take time and effort for us to illustrate to others how the tool can be used by the clients themselves to voice and work towards their aspirations, as well as how it can assist all professionals, not just Mother’s Choice, to reach and measure outcomes.

At Mother’s Choice, we look forward to using the CANS with our families and youth directly. Engaging our youth and families with CANS as the key tool to guide the conversations will be great asset to delivering the best services.

The CANS is the tool that allowed us to implement TCOM as a case management framework. When onboarding such a tool, the organization must be ready to review not only their assessment reporting, but also how they will align these to  case management tactics and models including decision making, service planning, supervision, etc.

P: Have you developed any resources (outside of the reference guide/manual) that might be shareable?

LW: We have developed program logic to measure and monitor the complexity and intensity of cases. This algorithm puts a rating on each case that helps us make decisions on the resources that are needed to manage the cases.

A Chinese translation of the CANS is in progress and we are currently working on setting up a Hong Kong CANS E-learning Certification.

P: What advice would you have for others planning a new implementation?

SHQ and LW: We suggest setting a working group at the beginning of the project that consists of representatives from the frontline, data professionals, IT professionals and management so as to have all stakeholders involved in the design and planning.

Both for the design and the implementation of CANS in your region, we suggest to take an “agile” approach, starting with a shorter list of CANS items first (our suggestion is to start with the Standard CANS Comprehensive). Use Standard items to map out retrospective local cases and analyse how the items fit and sit with front line users, editing and specifying more clearly your item definitions. Work in iterations. From our experience, once the implementation kicks off, new insight and conversations on clinical practices, service delivery gaps, and organization improvement will surface which can then inform the next steps of the implementation plans.

P: Who are your “TCOM Champions” within the system (i.e., those who understand and are eager to use the TCOM framework and the CANS)?

LW: Saw Han is our TCOM champion extraordinaire! She has walked alongside Mother’s Choice all this time with insight, patience and encouragements. She has enabled us to develop our very own TCOM champions amongst our Mother’s Choice colleagues always speaking out the heart and voice of the TCOM principles. We are so grateful for her expertise and consult on this critical project as we advance and refine our clinical use of the tools. We are inspired by her professionalism, enthusiasm and passion in bringing the TCOM tools to Singapore and Hong Kong.

At Mother’s Choice, we strive to implement best practices by modeling small, building up internal capacity, and using that to influence big.

P: What are your future goals with the CANS?

SHQ and LW: In the short-term, we plan to continue to work with the Praed Foundation to build the training tools online in English and Chinese for our Hong Kong CANS to enable efficient recertification for all our users.

At Mother’s Choice, we strive to implement best practices by modeling small, building up internal capacity, and using that to influence big. We want to inspire and equip others to be able to do what we have done. Part of that vision includes integrating the TCOM tools at all levels of our practice so that we can then share these tools with our peer agencies and the Social Welfare Department. This will allow all involved in the care of our clients to all speak a common language, to translate our findings, and turn evidence into actionable and measurable steps with the goal of reaching better outcomes for clients and influencing practice in the long term.

images of hong kong:

What if adopting an entrepreneurial mindset can help academics succeed in their professional development?

What IPH… – A Seminar Series hosted by the Center for Innovation in Population Health

New Faculty are given an office, a computer and teaching assignments and are expected to develop a successful program of research. In many ways, each faculty position is its own ‘start-up’. Like start-ups, some succeed and some do not. Perhaps we can learn from the field of entrepreneur development how to better support the process of faculty development. 

Warren O. Nash III is the Executive Director of The Von Allmen Center for Entrepreneurship (VACE) at the University of Kentucky. Previously he was Director of the Lexington Office of the Kentucky Innovation Network and has served as the deputy commissioner of the Department of Commercialization and Innovation

Warren Nash

Executive Director of The Von Allmen Center for Entrepreneurship (VACE) at the University of Kentucky

We invite you to attend the What IPH Seminar on Wednesday, April 21, 2021.

What IPH Seminar Series

Title: What IPH.. adopting an entrepreneurial mindset can help academics succeed in their professional development?

Webinar date: April 21, 2021

Time: 2pm – 2:45pm EST

Speaker: Warren O. Nash III

Location: Zoom

Registration: What IPH Seminar Series

Cost: Free

Contact Email:

For more information on the event, click the link below:

This free webinar is hosted by the Center for Innovation in Population Health. Our goal with our What IPH series is to present innovative ideas that can apply to the public health space. We invite all University of Kentucky faculty, staff, students, and the TCOM Collaborative to join us for our first seminar series. 

Call For Proposals – Extension Announced

New Proposal Submission deadline is March 31, 2021 23:59 CST

Deadline extension announcement!

We have extended the deadline for proposal submissions until March 31, 2021 (23:59 CST)!

If you are interested in presenting at the 17th Annual TCOM Conference, you now have over two weeks to work on and submit your presentation proposal. We would be delighted and encourage all those of the TCOM Collaborative to think about sharing at this year’s conference.

Call for Proposals: download here

To submit your proposal, please email Diamond Darling at

Below you will find some answers to frequently asked questions, but please be assured that our team will be more than happy to assist you with any questions that you may have. If you find yourself with a question, requesting clarification, or assistance in the proposal process, please contact us at

Interview with Lizzie Minton – Kentucky’s Clinical Consultant

Written By: Ken McGill, EdS, LMFT

Lizzie Minton headshot

Lizzie Minton is a Child Welfare Clinical Consultant in Louisville, Kentucky. Since 2016, she has worked with Kentucky’s Department for Community Based Services (DCBS) to implement a standardized screening and assessment process for children in out-of-home care placements. Lizzie is a CANS Trainer and provides support and technical assistance to providers across the state as they work to implement and integrate the TCOM philosophies into their work. Lizzie previously worked as a therapist for children in residential treatment and foster care. She is a member of the 2021 TCOM Conference Program Committee.

Recently, Ken McGill, this year’s TCOM Conference Program Chair, sat down (virtually, of course) with Lizzie to talk about the upcoming conference!

Q: Tell us a little bit about the work that is happening in Kentucky.

A: This is a very exciting time for the TCOM work in Kentucky. We began the process of statewide implementation in 2016 and added our last two service regions in June 2018. Since June of 2018, we require that every child that enters out-of-home care undergo a screening process with their child welfare worker. This screener determines whether the child should be referred for behavioral health treatment. Once a child is referred for treatment, the behavioral health provider has 30 days to complete a CANS Assessment.

Q: How many children are in out-of-home care in Kentucky?

A: There are currently more than 9.000 children in out-of-home care in Kentucky. Of these children, about 6,100 children have “screened in” and been referred for a CANS.

Q: How many agencies are able to complete the CANS?

A: We have over 75 agencies who are able to complete the CANS at this time, including private child caring/placing agencies, community mental health centers, and independent providers. In 2020, we trained over 1,000 clinicians!

Q: What does the future of screening and assessment look like in Kentucky?

A: Another exciting piece of this process has been the ability to expand to other populations. Kentucky’s Department for Behavioral Health, Developmental and Intellectual Disabilities (DBHDID), through a System of Care grant, is expanding the screening and assessment process to include children and families involved in the child welfare system, but children are not removed from the home. It is a great time to be a part of this work!

Q: What can we expect during this year’s TCOM Conference in Lexington, Kentucky?

A: If all you know about Kentucky is horse racing, you have a lot to learn! I hope you will be wowed by our southern hospitality and charm. If you are a fan of bourbon, you may want to add an extra day or two on to your trip this year. Kentucky is home to nearly 70 distilleries and you could spend a few days enjoying the Kentucky Bourbon Trail. Lexington is also home to many great restaurants and breweries, many within walking distance to the Hyatt Regency where the conference will be held.

Q: If anyone is interested in learning more about presenting & attending the TCOM Conference what should they do?

A: My hope is that everyone reading this attends this year’s conference. If anyone is interested in presenting they can either go to the Praed Foundation or TCOM Conversations websites. The process of submission is easy…I already submitted my proposal and really looking forward to sharing more about what we are doing here in Kentucky!

Getting A Leg Up On TCOM

Written By: Ken McGill, EdS, LMFT

What are the steps needed to begin the process of getting a leg up? First we must name-it to obtain-it, the work assists to gain-it & sustain-it and the goal is to for it to remain long after we are gone.

So let’s take that first step to define TCOM or Transformational Collaborative Outcomes Management.

Those who are familiar with communimetrics in human services know that information that is presented in an accessible way serves as a conduit for transparency and aides with the ease of interpretation while maintaining both validity and reliability (Praed Foundation, 2021). The CANS tools are used to facilitate Transformational processes of the human services field. These tools assist with the collaboration and developing a shared vision with those which are connected with the children/youth, adults, & families we serve. The focus must remain on monitoring outcomes ensuring that the work remains effective. Management of the data is essential in the work at all levels-direct care, agency and county/state levels.

Drs. John Lyons & April Fernando created a snap-shot visual of TCOM:

TCOM Framework visualization. TCOM is being symbolized by Roots of a tree.
TCOM Framework – Managing the ‘Business of Helping’

Communimetrics values “a deep appreciation for the unique position of service delivery systems at the intersection between science and management” (Praed Foundation, 2021). Using communimetric tools such as the Child Adolescent Needs & Strengths (CANS) aid in the creation of a measure which can be used immediately translated and used for individualized care planning with those being served-children/youth, adults, and their families.

So getting a leg up on TCOM focuses on the goal of CANS to ‘name-it’ or – what is going on in the lives of those we serve. How can someone obtain-it if they do not first name-it or what is being identified as needs and/or strengths. The plans of care than are constructed to outline the transformation goals or the ‘gain-it.’ These become the skills, functional strengths being developed as part of care planning process. It will be the child/youth & family team that will ‘sustain-it’ developing/utilizing family & community supports. It is only with a shared vision that a child/youth, adult & their family will remain focused on reaching their own aspirational goals throughout life.

Getting A Leg Up On TCOM - Name-It, Obtain-It, Gain-It, Sustain-It are the steps, and if those steps remain, then we get TCOM. We are now moving from Systems of Care to Systems that Care.
Getting A Leg Up on TCOM – Moving from Systems of Care, to Systems That Care

My hope for 2021 and beyond is for everyone to name what they need to obtain & gain to sustain a fulfilling life and remain empowered to transformation their home, community, and the world in which we all inhabit. You now have a start to getting a leg up on the 2021 TCOM Conference

It is so exciting to be serving as the 2021 TCOM Conference Chairperson as I will have the distinct honor to serve alongside an amazing group of leaders who embody the philosophical tenets of TCOM!

NOTE: Call for Papers has been sent out, for more info you can go to TCOMConversations Deadline for submission is March 15th has been extended until Wednesday, March 31, 2021. If you are interested in presenting but you have questions please feel free to email me at 

Deadline Approaching – Call for Proposals

17th Annual TCOM Conference – Call for Proposals

Getting a Leg Up On TCOM

Call for Proposals: download here

Deadline For Submission: Monday, March 15, 2021 has been extended until Wednesday, March 31, 2021

We are excited to have our 2021 TCOM Conference at the headquarters for the TCOM team – Lexington, Kentucky! We have been shown gracious southern hospitality since we moved to the Bluegrass state in 2019, and have felt welcomed by colleagues at the University of Kentucky.

The continued global pandemic has highlighted–and in many ways, expanded–the racial and socioeconomic disparities in our communities and institutions. The world feels divided on many issues, yet the TCOM desire to create a shared vision remains the same. That shared vision cannot happen unless we are committed to providing opportunities for learning and collaborating across healthcare, child welfare, behavioral health and other complex systems.

TCOM Conferences and the larger world-wide TCOM Collaborative has provided a platform for innovative thinking & sharing across all systems. Over the decades there has amassed huge amounts of information on systems of care. The challenge has always been that data often gets siloed, where it is not shared for the betterment of service-delivery. TCOM Conferences have led the charge in breaking down siloes in order for ‘thought-leaders’ to successfully & creatively achieve implementations, as well as continuous quality improvement measures. It is through this collective gatherings which has affirmed that we need each other in order to serve youth & families in equitable and transformative ways. We hope you’ll join us.

All members of the international TCOM collaborative are invited to submit proposals to share your work.

“This year’s theme is ‘Getting a Leg Up On TCOM’ which directly connects to the locale of the conference, Lexington Kentucky. Kentucky’s rich history of hosting the Kentucky Derby dates back to 1875. The theme also directly connects with TCOM’s goal of assisting others with support, assistance and a helping hand. The phrase ‘Getting a Leg Up’ can aptly be applied to each attendee and our role as ‘professional helpers.’ Whether you are a direct care worker, an agency/organization administrator, a county/state director or a family member attending the conference will expand your knowledge of TCOM and how to apply TCOM in these roles.” – Ken McGill, 2021 Conference Chairperson

17th Annual TCOM Conference

Theme: Getting a Leg Up On TCOM

Conference date: October 6-8, 2021

Location: Lexington, Kentucky

Due date for Proposals: March 15, 2021 has been extended until Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Contact email:

Call for Proposals Form: Call for Proposals – TCOM 2021 Download

For topic suggestions, please click here: TCOM Conference 2021 – Content Areas and Topics

For more information and inquiries, please contact:
Diamond Darling @

What if learning how Shakespeare wrote Hamlet could help you in writing papers, grants, or even to develop a treatment plan?

Flyer for IPH Center's Seminar, titled, "What IPH Learning how Shakespeare wrote Hamlet would help you in writing papers or grants or even developing a treatment plan?'. The event will be online using Zoom webinar February 18. 2021, from 2 pm to 3 pm EST.

In 2019, the TCOM group established the Center for Innovation in Population Health (IPH) at the University of Kentucky. We are proud to announce that through the IPH Center, we will be hosting a free seminar series, and encourage our TCOM Collaborative to attend.

Stephen Wrentmore, a lecturer in the Department of Theatre and Dance at the University of Kentucky, has experience as a theatre director, writer, curator, academic, and change consultant. In the IPH Center’s very first seminar, he will be providing a unique perspective for clinicians: What if Learning How Shakespeare Wrote Hamlet Could Help You in Writing Papers, Grants, or Even to Develop a Treatment Plan?

Mr. Wrentmore will introduce us to Dramaturgy, or, the science of storytelling. He will walk us through ways of exploring health outcomes, and how the structure of storytelling can be a framework to help others.

Stephen Wrentmore has been invited to speak on this by Dr. John Lyons, the founder of TCOM.

We would be grateful if members of the TCOM Community attended this free event. For information about registration, please see the information below:

Title: What IPH… the science of storytelling can help researchers tell the stories of their publications and grants?

Webinar date: Febraury 18, 2021

Time: 2pm – 3pm EST

SpeakerStephen Wrentmore

Location: Zoom

Registration: What IPH Seminar Series

Cost: Free

Contact Email:

This free webinar is hosted by the Center for Innovation in Population Health. Our goal with our What IPH series is to present innovative ideas that can apply to the public health space. We invite all University of Kentucky faculty, staff, students, and the TCOM Collaborative to join us for our first seminar series. 

Keeping it Fresh: Updating Your Reference Guide

Image is of 3 pages from the updated TCOM Reference guides as an example with dark olive green background

By: Lynn Steiner, MSW

Happy New Year! As we settle into another year, it’s amazing how quickly we fall back into the same routine, the familiar tasks and obligations, the repetitions. If you have been using the CANS, the FAST, the ANSA or the CAT Reference Guides for a while, you’ve come to know it well, both how it can be useful in assessment, service planning and evaluation, and how it can be frustrating (misspellings, anyone?).

Did you know that we sometimes re-visit our standard versions of the TCOM tools in order to replace outdated language, fix errors, update content and more? In recent months, we have updated our Standard Comprehensive versions of the CANS, ANSA and FAST (with the Early Childhood and CAT versions not far behind). Keep reading to learn about general and tool-specific updates and how you can access these new versions.

Why we do this

The use of the TCOM tools began with a small number of agencies and jurisdictions. Customization, one of the selling points of the tools, was present from the beginning and promoted meaningful use and local application of these tools. To maintain the integrity of the TCOM tools, we identified a core item set for the CANS, ANSA and now the FAST that captures the minimum information needed to understand an individual’s needs and strengths. We incorporated these core item sets into the standard comprehensive versions of each tool. Occasional reviews of these tools become necessary as our understanding of individuals and the world grows with experience.

Another incentive for the core item sets relates to the recent development of the TCOM Data Reservoir that provides us a place to receive and have available data from the TCOM tools that are used in  jurisdictions all over the world. See elsewhere on the blog for information about the Data Visualization Garden (a resource for report-sharing) and how to submit your jurisdiction’s TCOM data for inclusion in the TCOM Data Reservoir and how you and your system can benefit from participating in this collaborative effort.

What has changed

Our review and refresh of the TCOM tools try to balance standardization and customization. For all versions, you may notice the following updates:

  • Clear Praed branding and standard formatting
  • Gender-neutral language
  • Updated Action Level wording that is also incorporated into the items
  • Modules that follow their trigger item rather than appearing at the end of the document to better support learning
  • Minimizing the use of mild/moderate/severe for items along with updated descriptions for some items to help reinforce the use and intent of the Action Levels
  • Changing the Trauma exposure (aka Potentially Traumatic/Adverse Childhood Experiences) items from a 4-point rating scale to a 2-point rating scale (No/Yes) to better capture the exposure to trauma rather than its severity

While the newer versions of the Standard Comprehensive CANS and the ANSA may not seem so different content-wise, if you currently use a version of the FAST – Family Advocacy and Support Tool, – it will look VERY different. You might say it has been completely overhauled! In addition to the above changes, highlights to the new Standard Comprehensive FAST include:

  • The return of the Advocacy and Capacity sub-domain, with a new skills rating system (5-point rather than 4-point)
  • Separation of Needs and Strengths Family items that are grouped into their own sections and use the corresponding Action Levels that are aligned with the CANS and ANSA
  • Alignment of Caregiver and Child items to the ANSA and CANS respectively
  • Separation of child items by age group (rated if relevant): 0-5 and 6+
  • Modules that are triggered by a rating of ‘1,’ ‘2,’ or ‘3’ on specific Child or Caregiver items
  • A new Family item: Family Social Identity, and updates of other items
  • The addition of Supplemental Information for many items to provide helpful information for assessment

How this can benefit you

If you are currently using a version of the ANSA, CANS or FAST that’s at least a year old (or substantially older), you may want to take a look at the updated standard versions. We would be happy to work with you on updating your current version.

If you are thinking about adding another tool to your toolkit, take a look at the updated versions to see if any of them might fit the bill.

For questions, or if you want to talk to us about updating your older version to the newer one, please contact April Fernando at or Lynn Steiner at


Introducing Our 2021 TCOM Conference Chairperson – Ken McGill

Written By: Ken McGill, EdS, LMFT

Background Information:

To be chosen to serve in this role is an absolute honor! I think it is important to further introduce myself to those whom I have not yet had the privilege of meeting. I have been the lead CANS/TCOM Trainer for the New Jersey Children’s System of Care for the past 12 years. My very first introduction to the CANS and Communimetrics was back in 2004, when I attended a training that John Lyons was facilitating here in New Jersey. It was in my role as a Regional Care Coordinator for the Contracted Systems Administrator to support the rollout of the statewide system of care for the northern region of the state.

It was exciting for me to learn from the person who literally ‘wrote the book’ on the Child Adolescent Needs & Strengths or CANS. In fact, I was given a copy of Communimetrics, which I later got signed by Dr. Lyons, and it was an amazing read. I would strongly recommend that you read it if you have not yet already done so.

It was at this point that I knew I made the right choice to shift to the public sector. My total number of years serving the New Jersey Children’s System of Care (NJCSOC) is 17, spending 4 years as a Clinical Director of a Care Manager Organization before transferring to Rutgers University-University Behavioral Health Care-Behavioral Research Training Institute. It should be noted that NJCSOC is celebrating a milestone this year-20 years!

My professional life prior to moving over to the public section consisted of working as part of a private practice as a Marriage & Family Therapist working in one of the richest counties in New Jersey-Bergen County. The practice was owned by a psychiatrist and the other group partners included a psychologist, social worker, nurse-practitioner, an educational specialist and me…a family therapist. The ‘clients’ were executives of business & industry, celebrities and their families who paid for these services ‘out of pocket’ because of their socio-economic status. Many of my fellow students from Seton Hall University told me how ‘successful’ I was because of my employment at this ‘prestigious’ agency.

However, I had another life-changing event happen to me which shifted my thinking and my life journey. It was when I listened to Dr. Nancy Boyd-Franklin speak at a statewide conference for systems therapy. Dr. Boyd-Franklin is a professor, author, and clinician who has become a dear friend of mine over the years.  It was during this presentation that she asked the audience the question, “How many families are not able to access your services?” and went on to highlight some alarming facts: many individuals, couples and families do not have access to medical/mental health resources, and people of color were impacted by systemic poverty, racism and other societal factors having generational impacts on their lives. It was then I made the shift over to ‘serve’ in the rollout of New Jersey’s Statewide Children’s System of Care.

The reason for outlining my journey is two-fold; first it gives you a background of what I bring to discussions; secondly it will further expand upon how I fit into the larger TCOM Collaborative. It is the latter which I believe is the most meaningful to everyone. You may be asking, “What do I get out of attending/participating in the conference?” The answer to this question is, “So much more than just attending a single event!” As I look back over the 14 years of conference attendance & presentations it has been a meaningful journey of ‘shared knowledge.’ Over these years I have learned from very intelligent people about training, certification, implementation, data analyses and managing complex systems. Additionally, I have developed friendships for which I am truly grateful and value not only their expertise but assistance in providing me with such unconditional support. As a result my understanding of TCOM (i.e. CANS, FAST, ANSA, etc.) is so much richer. I know that these tools can gather a depth potential information, but the ultimate goal of TCOM is to always adapt to meet the needs of individuals, families, and communities all over the world. 

The ‘Call for Papers’ was just sent out for those who are interested in sharing and becoming a part of this Worldwide Collaborative Learning Community or the TCOM Collaborative.

This Year’s Theme:

I hope you are even more excited to both attend and present at the 2021 TCOM Conference! This year’s theme is ‘Getting a Leg Up On TCOM’ which directly connects to the locale of the conference, Lexington Kentucky. Kentucky’s rich history of hosting the Kentucky Derby dates back to 1875. The theme also directly connects with TCOM’s goal of assisting others with support, assistance and a helping hand. The phrase ‘Getting a Leg Up’ can aptly be applied to each attendee and our role as ‘professional helpers.’ Whether you are a direct care worker, an agency/organization administrator, a county/state director or a family member attending the conference will expand your knowledge of TCOM and how to apply TCOM in these roles.

TCOM Blog-since you are reading my write-up it will only take a move of the mouse and a click to access the Blog where there are insightful articles on various topics connected with systems, society and self. Please consider writing up a blog on a topic of your interest & expertise and submitting it

Contact Information:

My hope is that I was able to connect with you and spark your interest in not only attending this year’s TCOM Conference but to presenting your knowledge and joining the TCOM Collaborative. If you have any questions please feel free to contact me directly at or

IPH Center’s First Seminar – You’re Invited!

What IPH… The Science of Storytelling Can Help Researchers Tell the Stories of Their Publications and Grants?

We are thrilled to invite you to the IPH Center’s very first seminar series!

In 2019, the TCOM group established the Center for Innovation in Population Health (IPH) at the University of Kentucky. We are proud to announce that through the IPH Center, we will be hosting a free seminar series, and encourage our TCOM Collaborative to attend.

In our very first seminar series, Stephen Wrentmore, a lecturer with the Department of Theatre and Dance, UK College of Fine Arts, will be discussing dramaturgy, the science of storytelling. Stephen will offer ideas on how dramaturgy can help researchers tell the stories of their publications and grants. This will give our audience an alternative way that health scientists can tell their stories and their work.

Stephen Wrentmore

Lecturer, Dept. of Theatre and Dance, UK College of Fine Arts

About the Speaker:

 Mr. Stephen Wrentmore is the University of Kentucky’s resident expert in Dramaturgy- the science of storytelling. Over his career, he has written, directed, and staged productions all over the world, from Omsk to San Jose. Originally from London, he teaches and is a lecturer in the Dept. of Theatre and Dance, UK College of Fine Arts. He will be discussing how storytelling can be beneficial to people in the healthcare field.

We look forward to your attendance for the very first What IPH Seminar Series!

What IPH Seminar Series

Title: What IPH… the science of storytelling can help researchers tell the stories of their publications and grants?

Webinar date: Febraury 18, 2021

Time: 2pm – 3pm EST

Speaker: Stephen Wrentmore

Location: Zoom

Registration: What IPH Seminar Series

Cost: Free

Contact Email:

For more information on the event, click the link below:

This free webinar is hosted by the Center for Innovation in Population Health. Our goal with our What IPH series is to present innovative ideas that can apply to the public health space. We invite all University of Kentucky faculty, staff, students, and the TCOM Collaborative to join us for our first seminar series. 

17th Annual TCOM Conference – Call for Proposals!

The 2021 TCOM Conference will be in the horse capital of the world – Lexington, Kentucky! Our theme for this year’s TCOM conference is “Getting a Leg Up On TCOM” – hosted by the Praed Foundation

All members of the international TCOM collaborative are invited to submit proposals to share your work. Download the Call For Proposals document below.

Back in September of 2019, the TCOM group established the Center for Innovation in Population Health (IPH) in Lexington at the University of Kentucky. Since moving to Kentucky, we have gotten to experience the southern charm and hospitality that Lexington has to offer.

Whether you submit a proposal to present or not, we look forward to seeing all of you in Lexington, Kentucky.

For those that have yet to attend an in-person TCOM Conference, we think you will find it a unique conference experience of a large group of committed and humble people seeking to share and learn from each other. We hope you join us in growing this culture of collaboration. 

Call for Proposals: download here

Deadline For Submission: Monday, March 15, 2021 has been extended until Wednesday, March 31, 2021

17th Annual TCOM Conference

Theme: Getting a Leg Up On TCOM

Conference date: October 6-8, 2021

Location: Lexington, Kentucky

Due date for Proposals: 15 March 2021 has been extended until March 31, 2021

Contact email:

FAQs for the Call for Proposals process

Q: How long is the Call for Proposals open for the 17th Annual TCOM Conference (2021)?
A: The Call for Proposals for the 2021 TCOM Conference is open through January 19, 2021 and will now be closed on March 31st, 2021.

Q: What is the deadline to complete a submission?
All submissions must be completed by Wednesday, March 31, 2021 23:59 CST in order to be considered for the 17th Annual TCOM Conference.

Q: What is the theme for the 17th Annual TCOM Conference?
A: “This year’s theme is ‘Getting a Leg Up On TCOM which directly connects to the locale of the conference, Lexington Kentucky. Kentucky’s rich history of hosting the Kentucky Derby dates back to 1875. The theme also directly connects with TCOM’s goal of assisting others with support, assistance and a helping hand. The phrase ‘Getting a Leg Up’ can aptly be applied to each attendee and our role as ‘professional helpers.’ Whether you are a direct care worker, an agency/organization administrator, a county/state director or a family member attending the conference will expand your knowledge of TCOM and how to apply TCOM in these roles.” – Ken McGill, 2021 TCOM Conference Program Chair

Q: What topic should I submit for consideration for the 17th Annual TCOM Conference?
A: For the annual TCOM Conference, we are always looking for a wide array of topics that are innovative, engaging, inspiring, and informative in relation to TCOM. We also have suggested topic categories if you would like your presentation to be CE Eligible for the 17th Annual TCOM Conference.

Example topic themes: Communimetrics, TCOM, Direct Care, CANS, ANSA, FAST, SSIT, Safe Systems, CAT/CSPI, Juvenile Justice, Behavior Health, Outcomes Management, Education, Leadership, Child Welfare, Person-Centered Care

Q: What information is required within a proposal?
A: Your proposal(s) will not be accepted without the following information from all presenters:

  • Faculty Information Sheet – completed by each presenter
  • Learning Objectives – completed by each presenter
  • Disclosure of Financial Interest – completed by each presenter
  • Current Curriculum Vitae (CV) – completed by each presenter
  • Current Headshot – completed by each presenter
  • Draft presentation (outline)

Q: What should I provide for Learning Objectives?
A: A clear learning objective states what the learner will be able to do upon completion of a continuing education activity, in terms of behavioral change. A clear objective identifies the terminal behavior or desired outcome of the educational offering. If you’re interested in more information, you can view the Learning Objectives Guidelines.

Q: Who is the audience for the TCOM Conference?
We invite all that are interested in TCOM to attend the annual TCOM Conference. Many of our attendees are direct care workers, social workers, researchers, agency/organization administrators, county/state directors, or even family members that are wanting to expand their knowledge of TCOM.

Q: How do I submit my proposal?
A: You will need to submit your proposal(s) by email to Diamond Darling at

Q: How will I know if my proposal was submitted successfully?
A: Once you email your Call for Proposal submission to, you will receive an email confirmation from Diamond Darling that we have received your presentation proposal.

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8 Tips to Keep the Holidays Happy

’Tis the season that families and friends would typically be gathering to exchange gifts and celebrate traditions. With the COVID-19 pandemic, this year will be different. 

We encourage our TCOM Collaborate to celebrate this year’s festivities in ways that we hope will help keep us all safe and healthy. We understand that this may present some difficult emotional and logistical challenges. Celebrating holidays alone or only with our immediate household members can be a new hurdle that many of us haven’t experienced before.

But the holidays aren’t canceled. We can still share our love, show gratitude, and plan creative activities to make this holiday a season to remember.

Here are a couple of ideas that you may want to consider to celebrate this holiday season in new and different ways:

  1. Share a Meal Remotely
    Most of our end-of-the-year holidays involve our family and friends gathered around a table with our favorite traditional meals. To include people outside of your household, use one of the many videoconferencing platforms that are available to share your meal and good conversation remotely. Have people share their recipes, compare culinary creations, and show how their dishes were prepared. (For recipe ideas, the College of Public Health at the University of Kentucky recently created a virtual cookbook that you can find here)

  2. Organize a Game Night
    This would be a good time to bring out any old board games or teach your kids new games that they haven’t gotten the chance to play yet. Many games can also be played online, or you can play traditional games (e.g. trivia, scavenger hunts, charades) on a video call.

  3. Holiday Movie Watch Party
    Hosting a virtual movie night might be the way to go to be able to entertain as well as connect with your friends or your family. Netflix, Hulu, and many other streaming platforms can allow you to watch the movie all at once. You can send a poll to your virtual “guests” for the movie night to see what movie you will be screening, then set aside a block of time to all watch the film together.

  4. Caroling Karaoke
    Traditional caroling this year is a high-risk activity with COVID-19. Using a video call platform and some karaoke apps, you can convert your caroling to an online event. Record your video, then post your family or your friends’ magical voices onto any of your social media platforms to spread holiday cheer.

  5. Holiday Lights Tour
    To bring back the magic of the holidays, plan a road trip around town with your household members to see the light displays around your neighborhood, local downtown area, or businesses.

  6. Visit with Santa Claus on Your Computer
    Santa is still coming to town, sort of. His visits are much trickier this year, as there have been restrictions on his in-person visits due to the pandemic. However, many sites allow you to connect with Saint Nicholas virtually. Even though his appointments are booked (since tonight is his busiest night), you can see a pre-recorded video on Santa Calling for free.

  7. Attend a Virtual Storytelling, Mass or Concert
    Not many in-person events are being hosted this holiday season. Luckily, many of those events are still taking place online. Many holiday theaters and musical performances are still taking place virtually, such as San Francisco Ballet’s Nutcracker until December 31st.
    These online events have made it possible to experience different celebrations all over the country. Checking with your favorite local organizations to see what they have planned is also recommended.

  8. Bake and Decorate Some Sweet Treats
    Gingerbread houses + sugar cookie decorating have always been a fun tradition. Whether this involves your household or done virtually, this allows others to be creative and to have a snack at the end! For recipes, there’s an abundance of recipes on the internet, and Food Network provides a step-by-step guide. I personally pair my sweet treat with a sweet drink, like eggnog or hot cocoa.

COVID-19 is still surging in most of the United States, and in different areas around the world. Many of us are breaking tradition this year by having to physically social distance, which can add a new stress on this holiday season. This year, everyone will need to rethink what truly matters about holiday gatherings — or rather, what exactly it is we love about them.

The University of Kentucky (where our Center is based) will be closed from December 19, 2020– January 3, 2021. As a courtesy, our Support Services will still be available on a limited basis during this time. This includes the General TCOM Training Support, Coaching Support, and eCANS Support. Support Services will respond to your requests within 2 business days, holidays notwithstanding. Due to these limitations, we urge you to use the guides provided on the Praed Foundation Website.

Mine-CANS Winner – TCOM Conference 2020

During the TCOM 2020 Virtual Cloud Gathering Conference, Community Data Roundtable (CDR) hosted a conference-wide virtual scavenger hunt for all of our attendees.

This scavenger hunt highlighted all the “nuggets” one “mines” at the TCOM conference. These “nuggets” were featured within every presentation as little Minecraft style blocks.

The attendees were able to win points by finding these nuggets, as well as receive extra points for engagement in the Virtual Café. At the end of the conference, the attendee with the most points won a gift basket with gift cards, a fancy-coffee kit, and even a copy of John Lyons’  Communimetrics.

We would like to congratulate our scavenger hunt winner from this year’s conference, Lydia Shaw!

Community Data Roundtable put together a video highlighting Lydia receiving her prize, and features CDR, members of the TCOM Team, and Dr. John Lyons awarding this year’s winner via Zoom.

To see the video that Community Data Roundtable put together, please click the link below:

Thank you to all who played and participated in this year’s TCOM Cloud conference. 

New Website Announcement

Today we are excited to announce the launch of our new website!

Back in September of 2019, the TCOM group established the Center for Innovation in Population Health (IPH) at the University of Kentucky.

Our site for the Center for Innovation in Population Health has officially gone live. We hope that with our brand new website, we can further improve our engagement with the University of Kentucky, Commonwealth of Kentucky, and beyond. On our site, you will be able to gather an understanding of what the IPH Center hopes to accomplish, the work that we do, and learn more about our team.

The IPH Center is based in the College of Public Health, and we have found with its high-energy leadership and vibrant faculty, a home in a field that is the most congruent with the mission and approaches of our work

Our goal at the IPH Center is to create a culture of health. To do this, we emphasize four strategic goals: making health a shared value, fostering cross-sector collaboration to improve well-being, creating healthier and more equitable communities and strengthening integration of health services and systems.

Public health has become increasingly aware that the simple delivery of health inventions, without consideration of the social and psychological determinants of health and well-being is inherently limiting. This is a good time to position the work of TCOM and the team squarely as a public health initiative.

We invite you to visit our site at

We Appreciate You

Two weeks ago was our 16th Annual TCOM Conference; we would like to thank everyone that participated.

With our first virtual conference completed, we would like to take the time to thank every one of our friends, attendees, speakers, and sponsors who made this year’s event a truly special one!
We are delighted that we had a record number of participants of 550 for the 16th Annual TCOM Conference! We had 7 countries and 32 states represented this year, and we feel grateful that we were able to connect with so many that we normally don’t get the chance to. We are so appreciative of your attendance, collaboration, and your passion for the TCOM Collaborative.

From each and every one of us at the Praed Foundation, we would like to say thank you to all our fantastic speakers and keynotes. We know that working around these new technological methods of presenting was not easy. All your effort and hard work did not go unnoticed, and we are very appreciative of the time that you put into your presentations. Many of us were moved by the stories you shared, and we were truly grateful for your time.

The current pandemic has caused all of us to adapt and innovate– and we appreciate your patience with us as our team adjusted our planning and scheduling for this year’s conference. Importantly, we would like to thank our Planning Committee for all their work on this year’s conference, and the TCOM Team members who offered their time as moderators and contributed to the backend to make this conference run as smoothly as we could.

Special Thanks to our Sponsors!

A special thank you also goes out to our Sponsors. Without their support, we would not have the Annual TCOM Conferences. Thank you to Casey Family ProgramsMagellan HealthObjective Arts, and Opeeka.

If you attended this year’s TCOM Conference, you will still be able to go through the presentation materials and recordings in the Socio App. Thank you again for attending the 2020 TCOM Cloud Gathering.

Recap from TCOM 2020 Virtual Cloud Gathering Conference

The 16th Annual TCOM Conference, A TCOM Cloud Gathering. Meeting Each Other Where We Are: Collaboration in a COVID-19 World has officially ended. We hope you were able to learn and grow from this year’s sessions; the TCOM Team feels grateful that we had the opportunity to connect and collaborate with each of you.

If you attended this year’s TCOM Conference, you will still be able to go through the presentation materials and recordings in the Socio App.

As a thank you for attending the TCOM 2020 Cloud Gathering, we will be sending each of you a Swag Pack in December 2020. To get a sneak peak of what you will be receiving, click on this link: Swag Pack for TCOM 2020 Conference: Virtual Cloud Gathering

We feel so fortunate that you helped make this year’s conference the success that it was, and we hope you can join us at our home base for next year’s conference in Lexington, Kentucky, October 6 – 8, 2021.

TCOM 16th Annual Conference: Are You Registered?

We are just days away from A TCOM Cloud Gathering. Meeting Each Other Where We Are: Collaboration in a COVID-19 World Conference!

Right now, we have our All Access Pass Sale (20% off from our regular registration) available until Sunday, November 8th, 2020. Starting Monday, November 9th, only the 3-Day Regular Registration and Single-Day options will be available to register for.

If you have already registered for this year’s conference, please take a look at our Online Event Page and our Registration Page for frequently asked questions.

We look forward to hosting our 16th Annual TCOM Conference, and collaborating with you soon.

Keynote Spotlight: Meet Liz Kromrei

Liz Kromrei, LCSW, MSSW, CPS Director of Services
Liz Kromrei, LCSW, MSSW, CPS Director of Services

We are thrilled that Liz Kromrei is joining us for the TCOM 2020 Cloud Gathering Conference!

Liz Kromrei is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, with an MSSW from the Steve Hicks School of Social Work at the University of Texas at Austin.

She has more than 35 years of post-graduate social work experience in the field of child welfare, the vast majority in the state-administered Texas child welfare system. As the CPS Director of Services, she currently manages four areas: Medical Services, Behavioral Health Services, Federal/State Support Services, and Federal/Program Improvement Review. 

Be sure to join us virtually to hear Liz discuss “CANS Assessments in the Texas Child Welfare System: A Road Trip” on Friday, November 13th, 2020 from 11:50 – 12:35PM EST during our TCOM 2020 Cloud Gathering Conference.

Speaker Spotlight: Charlane Oliver

Charlane Oliver, co-founder of the Equity Alliance

We are very excited and honored that Charlane Oliver will be using her voice to present at our TCOM 2020 Cloud Gathering Conference!

Hailed as a “Now Generation Activist” by The Tennessean and a 2019 Woman of Influence by the Nashville Business Journal, Charlane Oliver is an award-winning community advocate, respected movement builder, public relations strategist and rising star among Music City’s political scene. She is the co-founder and executive director of The Equity Alliance, a nonprofit that works to build political power among black voters and end voter suppression in a state with one of the lowest voter participation rates in the nation.

As a trusted voice on voting rights issues, her work has been featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post and throughout Tennessee. She has graced the coveted stage at the inaugural TEDxNashvilleWomen and has been a featured guest on various local television broadcasts and national podcasts.

Her organization led a statewide coalition that registered 91,000 Black and brown Tennesseans to vote for the 2018 midterms, increased Black voter turnout by 413 percent, and was responsible for endorsing and electing the most diverse and progressive Metro Council in the city’s history.

Previously, Charlane served as the community liaison and on the communications team for U.S. Congressman Jim Cooper, where she led one of the most successful voter registration initiatives in Congress called Project Register.

With over 15 years of professional experience in nonprofit management, civil service and communications, Charlane has garnered numerous accolades and awards. A native of Little Rock, Arkansas, Charlane has a bachelor’s degree from Vanderbilt University and holds a Master of Public Administration from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville.

Be sure to join us virtually to hear Charlane for our Master Lecture on Wednesday, November 11th, 2020 from 11AM – 1PM EST, and Roundtable from 3PM – 5PM EST on November 11th during our TCOM 2020 Cloud Gathering Conference.

Keynote Spotlight: Meet Dr. Michael Cull

Michael Cull, PhD
Michael Cull, PhD

We are ecstatic that our own Dr. Michael Cull is joining us for the TCOM 2020 Cloud Gathering Conference!

Dr. Michael Cull is an Associate Professor in the Department of Health Management and Policy at the University of Kentucky. His work focuses on quality improvement and system reform efforts in child welfare jurisdictions. Dr. Cull has specific expertise in applying safety science to improve safety, reliability, and effectiveness in organizations. His approach leverages tools like organizational assessment and systems analysis of critical incidents, including deaths and near deaths, to build team culture and help systems learn and get better.  

Attendees who tune into Dr. Cull’s presentation will leave with the following knowledge:

  1. Understand systemic threats to workforce wellbeing   
  2. How an approach to system-level resilience can support helping professionals 
  3. Specific strategies and tactics that support workforce resilience through collaborative work 

Be sure to join us virtually to hear Dr. Cull discuss “Reconsidering Resilience” on Wednesday, November 11th, 2020 from 11:50 – 12:35PM EST during our TCOM 2020 Cloud Gathering Conference.

Keynote Spotlight: Meet Dr. Khaled El Emam

El Emam, Khaled, Ph. D.

We are proud to introduce Dr. Khaled El Emam, and grateful he can join us this year for our TCOM 2020 Cloud Gathering Conference.

Dr. Khaled El Emam is a professor at the School of Epidemiology and Public Health at the University of Ottawa and a Senior Scientist at the CHEO Research Institute. He is also a co-founder and Director at Replica Analytics, which is a spin-off company from his research. As an entrepreneur, Khaled has founded or co-founded five other companies involved with data management and data analytics, and in many cases, these have been based on his research work. 

Previously, Khaled was a Senior Research Officer at the National Research Council of Canada. He also served as the head of the Quantitative Methods Group at the Fraunhofer Institute in Kaiserslautern, Germany. He held the Canada Research Chair in Electronic Health Information at the University of Ottawa from 2005 to 2015. He has a Ph.D. from the Department of Electrical and Electronics Engineering, King’s College, at the University of London, England. 

Attendees who tune into Dr. Khaled El Emam’s presentation will leave with the following knowledge:

  1. Explain what data synthesis is, how it works, and how to evaluate the quality of synthetic data. 
  2. Recognize use cases as well as data use and analysis scenarios where synthetic data can provide a practical solution 
  3. Recognize the typical messy data characteristics which make machine learning (and data synthesis) challenging 

Be sure to join us virtually to hear Dr. Khaled El Emam discuss “The Promise, Applications, and Challenges of Generating Synthetic Health Data” on Friday, November 13th, 2020 from 11:00 – 11:45AM EST during our TCOM 2020 Cloud Gathering Conference.

Keynote Spotlight: Meet Dr. Jei Africa

Dr. Jei Africa, PsyD, MSCP, CATC-V, Director of Behavioral Health and Recovery Services (BHRS) at the County of Marin

We are thrilled to introduce to you Dr. Jei Africa, one of our keynote speakers for this year’s TCOM 2020 Cloud Gathering Conference.

Dr. Jei Africa is an innovative thought-leader, strategist and clinician who is passionate about integrating effective culturally responsive practices into the core functioning of County health services.  
For over a decade, Dr. Africa served as the Director of the Office of Diversity and Equity with the San Mateo County Health System where he led agency-wide efforts addressing health equity that received State recognition. He spearheaded the development of the first-ever multi-disciplinary behavioral health LGBTQ+ community center, led the health system’s change efforts to enable the collection of SOGI data for all patients, and was instrumental in the opening of a transgender health clinic. Prior to that, he was Clinical Director at Community Overcoming Relationship Abuse and Manager of Youth Treatment Services at Asian American Recovery Services. In addition to his professional work, Dr. Africa was appointed to serve as a founding member of the San Mateo County LGBTQ Commission (2014-2017), and currently volunteers with Alliance for Community Empowerment (ALLICE), an all-Filipino organization that provides free education on healthy relationships (2007-present).  
Jei Africa holds a Post-doctoral Master of Science degree in Clinical Psychopharmacology, a Doctorate of Psychology in Clinical Psychology and a Master of Arts degree in Clinical Psychology from Alliant International University/California School of Professional Psychology. Dr. Africa received a Bachelor of Social Science degree from the University of the Philippines (Manila), in Behavioral Science.  
He currently serves as an adjunct faculty member at the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy and at the Mabuhay Health Clinic, a free student-run clinic affiliated with the University of California-San Francisco (UCSF). He was a member of the National Partnership for Action to End Health Disparities Regional Health Equity Council (RHEC) IX, previously served as a Senior Research faculty member at the California School of Professional Psychology at Alliant International University and a fellow with the California Health Care Foundation (CHCF) Leadership Institute. 

Jei was recognized as one of the 100 Most Influential Filipinos in the United States (2009), and received the California Statewide Cultural Competence Professional Award (2009) for his leadership, professional contributions, and service promoting health equity and cultural competence. He was celebrated as one of the 2012 LGBT Local Heroes by KQED and Union Bank at the Castro Theater. In 2015, the California Psychological Association awarded him with the Distinguished Humanitarian Contribution Award for his exemplary work in promoting equity and social justice. He received both the Health Equity Changemaker Award from the New Leaders Council of Silicon Valley and the Bay Area Municipal Election Committee (BAYMEC) Service Award in 2017.  

Dr. Africa is the first openly transgender county behavioral health director in the state and in the US. 

Attendees who tune into Dr. Jei Africa’s presentation will leave with the following knowledge:

  1. The psychological framework of radical hope as a tool to respond to current global crises 
  2. Narratives of social movements founded on love and justice 
  3. Understand the purpose and significance of storytelling and self-reflection as an essential leadership skill 

Be sure to join us virtually to hear Dr. Jei Africa discuss “Emerging from the Crisis: Radical Hope, Justice and Love” on Thursday, November 12th, 2020 from 11:00 – 11:45AM EST during our TCOM 2020 Cloud Gathering Conference.

Transitions: How does managed care use the Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths (CANS) tool?

By: Barbara Ann Dunn, ACSW, LCSW, Director, Program Innovation and Outcomes, Magellan Healthcare


Using Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths (CANS) algorithms for access and transition decision support is particularly helpful when celebrating successes. It’s not always appropriate to use the algorithms to screen people for discharge from programs. Screening divides those who get certain services and those who don’t; however, it may not be appropriate for use in the same way for discharging. The CANS needs items get a youth into a program, while strength-building creates lasting progress. It is possible for a youth to be ready for discharge when they still have needs. If youth and their families have built coping skills and a supportive environment, they may be ready to leave formal services. We should celebrate that success.

At one point in our Louisiana program, half the youth discharging from wraparound still met the criteria for wraparound eligibility. This was not a failure to make progress; youth were making progress, and CANS scores were better at discharge, particularly in the area of increased linkage to natural supports. We took this as evidence of families and youth transitioning out of formal wraparound and having confidence in their own skills and natural supports, and needing less intensive professional supports.

The other side of the coin are youth in a program having a reassessment CANS and not meeting the criteria to continue in the program. Managed care makes a difference during this assessment, because care managers can include clinical information in the scoring and advocate for planned transitions.

A care manager in our Louisiana program compares the CANS to other material in the request for wraparound, such as the Independent Behavioral Health Assessment and other information in our clinical system. At times as the managed care organization, we have information in patient repositories the provider does not, such as data on a hospitalization, a crisis call, medications or even a complicating physical health claim.

Advocating for planned transitions throughout work with families and youth prepares them for the coming day. The best way to achieve this preparation is to build self-efficacy through intentional building of strengths. When the time for transition comes, whether to a lower level of care or less-intensive service, or to no formal services at all, family and youth confidence in their strengths is what will win the day. From our experience, if we use the greatest change in strengths as the most impactful for transition, we will focus on building the following for a successful planned transition:

  • Natural supports
  • Resilience
  • Resourcefulness
  • Optimism
  • Family strengths

A final note on transitions — in behavioral healthcare, a discharge from a program can be seen as a success. That may be purely based on utilization and length of stay and not on actual success. The CANS is a functional outcomes measure, i.e., it measures how a youth and family is functioning in real life. As value-based programming expands, the CANS will be used for evidence of discharge success. Let’s all embrace this. Managed care organizations value the work you do fully, and we cannot do it without measurement of functional outcomes.

We come to the end of this blog series. I hope you have a better understanding of how managed care should work in the behavioral healthcare system. I am not a spokesperson for all of managed care; I can only speak to what Magellan Healthcare has done and plans to do with the CANS. We all have functions in the behavioral health system, and we work best when we understand the reasons behind those functions, because at the end of the day, we have common goals and work better together.

Looking forward to seeing you at the TCOM Gathering in the Clouds Nov 11-13, 2020!

Barbara Ann Dunn, ACSW, LCSW

TCOM Conference Program Chair 2020

Appropriate and Effective: How does managed care use the Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths (CANS) tool?

By: Barbara Ann Dunn, ACSW, LCSW, Director, Program Innovation and Outcomes, Magellan Healthcare

Appropriateness and Effectiveness

An appropriate service should be effective. These two Key Decisions are inextricably linked and are often the basis of medical necessity. Evidence-based practices assign a defined appropriate population and a set of measures demonstrating effectiveness and provide a good example of how the community at large and managed care can agree. More work may be required, however, to come to agreement on how the Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths (CANS) is used to identify the appropriate population. In my first post on Access, I mentioned that in the best of all worlds, there would be two or three years of data on youth in a program using the CANS, the data could drive identification of youth with better outcomes, and then algorithms would be created for decision-making for youth access to programs. Matching a population to a service in managed care requires use of data to achieve meaningful outcomes.

One of the strengths of managed care is the capacity to collect, measure and analyze data. It is required for external reviews and accreditations, waiver applications and healthcare effectiveness. Using the CANS to identify appropriate and effective services for multisystem-involved youth should be standard in Medicaid managed care. Presentation of CANS data with other measures on provider reports and dashboards can be enabled by integrating CANS applications into existing systems and web portals. It would seem simple then to identify youth populations making progress with a level of care and prove treatment effectiveness. There are overarching populations in which we have been able to achieve such results, providing further validation of algorithms.

There are also times when specificity eludes the data, since “community-based” includes many interventions, and even “evidence-based practices” are at times practiced without fidelity measurement. Managed care relies on partnerships with providers and researchers to best understand effective treatment of youth populations. In one of our studies, we created a Family Functioning Scale and a Coping Scale with items across both domains. Both had a high correlation (Chronbach’s alpha) with a change in depression, at 0.89 on the Family Functioning Scale and 0.81 on the Coping Scale (where 1 is a perfect correlation or predictor of positive outcome).[1] It’s not clear what interventions were used with the families, but it is clear those interventions helped the families improve functioning and the youth reduce feelings of depression.

Which brings us to the final proof of appropriateness and effectiveness: the effectiveness for individual youth.

On an individual level, managed care looks to service providers to identify the salient needs and strengths in the plan of care. This could occur when a care or treatment plan is authorized, during wraparound coaching or as part of an audit process. One practice for Magellan Behavioral Health of Pennsylvania is a mid-treatment review. The paired CANS and treatment plan are reviewed with the treatment team to consider effectiveness. Without the pressure of authorization, the care manager and treating provider can use the CANS to focus on the individual and family needs, including the clinical formulation, i.e. the theory behind the CANS score. Managed care looks at the evidence of CANS use for clinical formulation. It is a care manager’s joy when the CANS is used well in the clinical formulation, because most of them were once providers and came to managed care to make a difference on a broader scale.

For the most part, the Pathways Model, with items mapped as pathways, targets and outcomes, has been the most advantageous model we’ve seen. It fits well in many treatment plan formats, allowing providers to use their own treatment plan templates. The Pathways Model (Figure 1) nestles comfortably into a functional behavioral assessment approach. The structure works for the novice CANS clinician as well as for the advanced. A wonderful description of this model in case conceptualization can be found in the Praed Foundation training archives “PsychoCANSalysis”.[2]

Figure 1: Types of Needs Based on the Pathways Model2

The Foundational Why Wheels (Figure 2) tool has been of particular assistance when a team is unable to sort out the pathways, targets and outcomes.[3] In this model, the most pressing needs are determined by brainstorming for drivers of these needs. The top two or three pressing needs each get a Why Wheel. CANS items are then mapped to the behavior and drivers. The resulting map of drivers reorients the team to targets of intervention and outcomes expected. When laid out visually as drivers, a compelling picture can help a family connect actions to reactions and causes to effects. The model as used by Multisystemic Therapy has a well-established track record.

Figure 2. Foundational Why Wheels3

Standardized assessment is an established best practice for measuring appropriateness and effectiveness. The CANS in practice excels at both. When the practice is done well, youth and families flourish and successfully complete their programs. We will look at this in the final blog on Key Decision 5, Transitions.

[1] Dunn, B. (2015) Lessons Learned: The TCOM Partnership of Funder, Manager Care, and Provider. TCOM Conference Presentation. Nov 2015

[2] Fernando, A.D. (2013) PsychoCANSalysis: Making Room for Case Conceptualization in Treatment Planning with the CANS. 9th Annual CANS Conference. Retrieved from

[3] Cardenas, J., Fernando, A.D., & Hilley, L. (2014). What, Why, and How: Collaborative Treatment Planning. 10th Annual CANS Conference, Chicago, IL. Nov. 13, 2014.

TCOM Annual Conference: Group Rates Available

Meeting Each Other Where We Are: Collaboration in a COVID-19 World

Group rates are available for this year’s virtual conference (November 11th-13th, 2020)! Save 30% off the All Access Pass when you register a group of five people or more. Feel free to reach out to us at for details.

For registration and to view the conference agenda, please click here.

TCOM Annual Conference: Early Bird Registration Extended!

We’re extending Early Bird ticket sales to September 13th! Regular registration will begin at 12:00am on Monday, September 14th.

Our conference will be virtual this year, and continuing education credits can be awarded. You can find our registration site and draft conference agenda here.

We hope you’ll join us!

–The TCOM Team

From Access to Engagement: How does managed care use the Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths tool?

By Barbara Ann Dunn, ACSW, LCSW, Director, Program Innovation and Outcomes, Magellan Healthcare


In my last post we looked at Key Decision 1 (Access) and how managed care uses the Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths (CANS) to enable access to services. Key Decision 2, Engagement, is about bringing people from access — opening the door — to becoming equal partners in the helping system.

Engagement is built on respect and understanding that youth and family are experts in their own lives and need to captain their own ships. Engagement uses a fully person-centered discovery and planning process. Person- and family-centered treatment planning is a collaborative process where care recipients participate in the development of treatment goals and services provided, to the greatest extent possible.[1] We can all agree the principles of wraparound or Child and Adolescent Service System principles; managed care has a specific, although sometimes unwelcomed role.

Managed care organizations (MCOs) are tasked with operationalizing engagement. This can sometimes look like a checklist rather than family-driven care, as operationalization includes timeframes and standards for everything: forms, consents, plans, child and family meetings, authorization, and even how often helpers and family are required to meet. Figuring out how to balance competing demands of engagement and the activities required for services requires a tremendous amount of consideration and care. Fortunately, the CANS offers a place where engagement and operationalization converge.

The CANS anchor items help to operationalize and engage through a common language that is easy to understand, providing scalability for action, and enabling transparency necessary for family-driven planning. Transparency is at the heart of truth-telling, i.e. rating CANS items accurately; respectful truth-telling enables powerful family-driven planning. The common language helps with this:

  • A needs definition is one of the following: no need, prevention, action or action right now.
  • A strengths definition is one of the following: a centerpiece strength, a useful strength, a strength to be built or no identified strength.

The CANS asks the hard questions and opens the door for families to explore the answers together. Sometimes, a standardized assessment uncovers what a family cannot articulate without being prompted by the right questions. When family members voices are heard and accepted, engagement is possible.

Engagement stems from creating a shared vision, and a shared vision needs a shared language. The CANS socializes the language of needs and strengths, functioning, and action across family and systems. A skilled facilitator will use the CANS in the background while assessing needs and strengths, and the family and youth self-assess on relevant items using the anchor items. In the Magellan of Wyoming Care Management Entity, the strengths, needs and culture discovery (SNCD) is the first step in the wraparound process, creating a shared vision with the family and youth.

If you’re wondering which comes first, the SNCD or the CANS – the SNCD, or the family and youth story in their own words, always comes first. Then, the family care coordinator introduces the CANS language on needs, strengths and action-based scoring. This facilitates consensus and understanding of needs and strengths, plan steps, and desired outcomes. The group can then work together to develop the plan of care.

Just using the CANS is not enough. When a facilitator discusses CANS ratings with the family, a guide booklet that defines the process and terms can help the family validate the ratings. This helps create transparency, but it is only the beginning. I recall one provider years ago completing the iconic paper bubble form in pencil after reviewing the referral material. When he met with the family, he gave them an eraser and allowed them to rescore anything they didn’t agree with. That eraser was a powerful tool for engagement.

Sometimes tension accompanies disagreement, and when there is disagreement, there is no shared vision. This may be an indication that the family is not ready to engage. The CANS facilitator is trained on how to recognize readiness for change and approach differences in ratings. Family desires or their readiness to engage can come up against operational requirements which may involve certain CANS scores for eligibility or timeframes to be met. MCOs should have care coordinators assist when the engagement process is derailed by the operationalizing of engagement.

In some cases, the operationalizing of engagement must be modified based on what happens through actual engagement. The engagement process, including the initial CANS and first plan of care, for the Magellan of Wyoming CME was originally operationalized to 30 days based on waiver requirements. For many families who needed immediate crisis assistance, 30 days was not enough time to complete all the tasks of engagement. Authorizations were at risk. Providers and families were stressed. Magellan Healthcare proposed re-operationalizing engagement to better match the phases of wraparound with a different payment model. Magellan would pay for a 14-day “pre-engagement” period, rolled into waiver rates, and the waiver tasks of engagement would be sequentially stretched to 46 days for the SNCD, CANS and plan of care. In all, the tasks of engagement would be allocated 60 days, better matching the wraparound phases. To test if this improved the rates of families engaging, we tracked disengagement. Family engagement was baselined at 16% disengaged and tracked quarterly, revealing a range of 13%-16%. CANS tracking additionally demonstrated increased needs identification and quarter-over-quarter increases in youth showing improvement (historically 50% and tracked quarterly ranging from 51% to 64%).

Proper operationalizing of engagement allows for family and youth to participate as fully as possible in using the CANS for reflection, self-advocacy and self-direction. From there, how do we link family and youth to appropriate and effective services? In my next post, we will look at Key Decisions 3, appropriate services, and 4, effective services.


Different Models using the CANS with Family Support and Advocacy

By: Janet Hoeke, Founder and Owner of WillowTree Mosaics

Recently a friend asked me to join their Wraparound care coordination team as part of the child and family team in the role of family support. The CANS wasn’t used in Idaho when my child was dealing with his serious emotional disturbance, so this was my first exposure to a process I have been advocating for over the last 4 years. Joining this team, I had only an advocate’s notion of what to expect.

I have become close with this family and have come to admire their tenacity, love, and welcoming spirit. There are 8 children, three are adopted, and of the 8, three have significant physical, mental and/or emotional challenges. My “support” for the family has often felt more like listening helplessly and praying for answers I couldn’t supply. When one child’s emotional disturbance peaked last year, tumbling the family into crisis, I sat with them in the hospital, helped them figure out what documents they needed, advocated for alternatives other than discharge back to the home with no supports, and helped them process the onslaught of information, differing opinions and navigation of a system of care that was still being implemented.

This year, their needs are different. Life happened and not just COVID-19 issues. Their entire HVAC system, washing machine, and handicap accessible van all died, permanently, in the span of a couple of months without the financial resources to replace them. These are not the things I had the ability to fix either.

These challenges would never have come up in the system of care I experienced with my son as the old system was solely focused on “what’s wrong with your child” and how to we “fix” them. So, I was pleasantly surprised when the Wraparound coordinator brought up the family’s needs at our very first meeting. This was a real acknowledgement that no single individual has the answers to help this family navigate these intense needs – especially with the temperatures set to soar into the 100s in the coming weeks, but that together we could collaborate, acknowledge that the child’s needs are not the only needs that impact the child and family’s ability to heal, and there is strength in our process. 

Within a week, we had accessed a donated washer, picked it up and delivered it to the family, and found an HVAC company willing to go take a look at the problem and at least partially fix the HVAC system so one child wouldn’t experience additional health issues due to the heat. We don’t have a solution to their transportation issues yet, but we are still working on it. Did these things therapeutically impact their child’s needs? No, not directly, and I dare say, in the past model I experienced with my child, these family needs that have a dramatic impact on a family’s ability to provide care and support and manage their own emotional health, would never have been acknowledged, or identified, much less addressed. Were they therapeutically important anyway? Yes, they were.

Experiences like this are taking place all across this country and our world thanks to the CANS. At this year’s TCOM virtual conference, we are having a roundtable discussion on “Different Models using the CANS with Family Support and Advocacy.” We are all at different stages of incorporating family support, peer support, and advocacy, and our models for discussing the child’s and family’s needs and strengths are very different.

In preparation for the roundtable we have discussed successes and challenges of using CANS data within a peer model to drive services without crossing the line into “what you aren’t supposed to do” in your role. What barriers are there to successful family/peer/advocacy roles with the CANS and teaming. How do funding mechanisms, value-based decision making, different models of family and peer support partners, and identification of the various roles in the teaming process impact outcomes for the child and family? What do you do when a member of the team throws down credentials or some other “fact” to overpower another team member?

As facilitators of this year’s roundtable discussion, we are curious about your experience and we would love for you to take a quick couple minutes to fill out a survey that will help set up the conversation we will have at our roundtable.

We hope you will join us at this year’s TCOM virtual conference November 11-13.

TCOM Annual Conference: Early Bird Registration Now Open!

Meeting Each Other Where We Are: Collaboration in a COVID-19 World

We hope you’ll join us for our virtual conference on November 11th-13th! Connection is more important now than ever. We look forward to our community coming together. Early bird registration is now open, and continuing education hours are available (if seeking CEs, please add this to your registration when prompted).

We hope to “see” you soon!!

How does managed care use the Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths (CANS) tool?

By: Barbara Ann Dunn, ACSW, LCSW, Director, Program Innovation and Outcomes, Magellan Healthcare

The Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths (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. I am often asked “How does managed care use the CANS?” Those of you who ascribe to Transformational Collaborative Outcomes Management (TCOM) likely recognize that managed care plays an increasing role in using clinical decision support tools and value-based programs The CANS offers a common language to look at resource needs and make the balancing of resources more transparent.

John Lyons frames the use of the CANS as part of “Five Key Decisions:” access, engagement, appropriateness, effectiveness and transitions. This framework on CANS use may be helpful for understanding how managed care uses decision support tools, and the CANS in particular, as the CANS has bonus options beyond the usual clinical decision support tools. With this and upcoming blog posts, I’ll discuss each of the five key decisions. This first post on the Access dimension of the Five Key Decisions will not only demystify managed care, but also help you to advocate for the transformational system that youth and families need.


Access refers to screening for a target population, such as using CANS algorithms for matching needs to services. This identifies youth who will benefit from a certain level of care or service, as well as those who will not. We know from early research that youth with lower needs than the level of care is designed to address, such as residential, will have poorer outcomes.[1]

When it comes to using the CANS as an eligibility tool for 1915 Medicaid waiver eligibility or services, there are apprehensions. Do service gatekeepers using the CANS over-report needs? With 11 other wraparound programs, Magellan Healthcare joined the national analysis led by the University of Washington that addressed this question. Systems using the CANS for eligibility did report more needs than systems not using it for eligibility. However, an independent care manager audit found under-reported needs when compared to the needs identified in the standardized Independent Behavioral Health Assessment tool. In other words, the gatekeepers were not found to be over-reporting needs nor focusing on meeting the eligibility algorithms, but on assessing the youth and family needs and strengths. This is the right thing to do.

In the best of all worlds, there would be two or three years of data on youth in a program using the CANS before anyone creates or uses an algorithm for targeting access. That data would drive identification of youth with better outcomes. Then, algorithms would be created for decision-making on youth access to programs. Unfortunately, that can take more time than the funding permits, particularly when a Medicaid Waiver requires an eligibility tool from the start.

Sometimes the algorithm is borrowed from other states, then stakeholders consider the target populations along with the CANS items, and the result is put into waiver or program requirements. This happens before the managed care organization (MCO) is involved. Usually, there is a request for proposal process that multiple MCOs respond to with their solution for the requirements set forth in the waiver and program design. The state or jurisdiction will select the proposal best meeting the rubric set forth. The selected MCO then implements the program based on the waiver and other state requirements but doesn’t often have input into the algorithm creation.

The MCO can, however, validate that an algorithm is capturing the target population using the CANS profiles, outcomes data and other information about youth in the program. This data is then presented to the state or jurisdiction to discuss potential changes to the algorithms.

One Magellan experience with the algorithms in Louisiana followed the process above, yet youth were not being fully identified for the high-risk waiver. Investigation of the CANS data found that the youth with the highest risk of inpatient and residential services were actually two populations, and one was being missed in the high-risk algorithm. Using the CANS profiles of youth at actual high risk and demonstrating that this new algorithm met the Louisiana regulations for youth at risk of inpatient services, Magellan proposed a second algorithm using select CANS risk items at a level of a 3. The state brought the justification to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, which approved. As youth were reassessed, they were screened into the high-risk waiver.

MCOs, with their advanced analytics capabilities, can provide valuable insights to state and local agencies to inform ongoing adjustments to algorithms to ensure that youth have access to the appropriate level of care.

In my next post on the second Key Decision, engagement, we will discuss moving people from access to being “equal partners in the system” (John Lyons). Check back soon.

[1] Lyons, J.S. & McCollough, J.R. (2006). Monitoring and managing outcomes in residential treatment: Practice-base evidence in search of evidence-based practice. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 45, 257-251.

Voice to Vote

By: the TCOM Team

Let’s all vote and help those who need our help to vote as well. Everyone should have a voice in creating our national shared vision.

Over the past decade, a many of us have participated in a number of strategic planning processes that played off 2020 representing perfect vision (e.g. Vision 2020).   Frankly none of those planning exercises anticipated the three crises that now confront us—a deadly pandemic, the resultant economic collapse, and a tragic and dramatic awakening of how far we need to go to achieve racial justice. We find ourselves in a moment unlike any that we have experienced before.   

An important focus of the TCOM group is the use of collaboration as a core component of creating a shared vision to guide our work. In the U.S. democracy, collaboration and visioning begins through all of us exercising our civic duty to vote. This is one important way for ALL of our voices to be heard. While no single vote may make much difference, the collective vote establishes a great deal about the direction that we take as a state or a nation in solving problems.

Although there is not a lot of science addressing these issues, we believe that a large percentage of people who work in the helping sectors (and might be reading this blog) already routinely exercise their right and responsibility to vote. For example, Mizrahi and Abramowitz recently opined that ‘Voting is Social Work’ in discussing the National Social Work voter mobilization campaign:

Sadly, many of the people we help are much less likely to vote. In some states, there are barriers for some people with mental health challenges or criminal histories to vote, but these barriers are not consistent across states. Sometimes these barriers are a form of voter suppression. The people we help may need our help in overcoming these barriers. We think collectively there are things that we can do.   

If you are a behavioral health provider, the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 requires provider agencies to make voter registration opportunities available at the time of enrollment in care, renewal of care, or if the individual has changed addresses.

Given housing instability among those we serve, it is important to remain diligent to this barrier to voting.


There are resources that can help us help.  The National Alliance of the Mentally Ill (NAMI) offers very useful information about the laws in each state.

The following site can help with felony disenfranchisement. 

The American Bar Association provides resources for people with disabilities, minority voters and adults under guardianship.

Additional resources include NAACP Voter Registration  and When We All Vote 


The first step of course is to register. A great resources is 

Here you can found out whether you or someone you are working with currently registered and, if not, they can register through this site. You can also use this site to request an absentee ballot to allow them to vote by mail if that is their preference and available in their state.

We are asking that each of us at our local level who are working with individuals with behavioral health challenges or adults with children in the foster care system, or young adults who are transitioning out of care. Perhaps someone on your agencies staff can facilitate voter registration and assist people in knowing when and how to vote when that time comes.

Many states require advance registration to participate in future elections so now is the time to begin to make sure everyone is registered to vote. We realize that for some absentee and vote by mail approaches have been politicized, for us, it is simply a matter of public health. Many people we serve have co-existing conditions that place them at particular risk from covid-19 infection. In addition, BIPOC people are more likely to have polling options reduced resulting in longer lines. Personal safety during the pandemic is a priority for all of us.

If you have ideas or strategies that you develop or are using, please share so that we can learn from each other how to ensure that everyone has their voice in our democracy.

A TCOM Virtual Town Hall with John Lyons

By Kenneth McGill, Senior Training and Consultation Specialist from Rutgers University

On June 30th New Jersey Children’s System of Care held a 2-hour Town Hall style webinar with Dr. John Lyons, developer of TCOM, who provided answers to questions from system partners on the CANS Tools (i.e., SNA, CAT, & FANS). In addition, Dr. Lyons shared the work being done at the University of Kentucky as Director of The Center for Innovation in Population Health.

Click here for webinar (password: yJTJfTX7)

Post-COVID 19 Planning Strategy-As we SIFT through the impact of this worldwide traumatic event-We must support school-age children/youth towards HOPE.

By: Kenneth McGill, EdS LMFT

Kenneth initially wrote this blog in early June. We find his words ring just as true today, as America continues to respond to the pandemic and the racial inequities laid bare and necessitating both a shared vision and transformation.

Like many it only took me a few weeks to recognize the immense impact spreading across my local community, the state, country and throughout the world. Now, as a mental health professional, I began viewing things through a trauma lens as it became clearer that individuals, families, schools, organizations …basically every system having been traumatically impacted. The most vulnerable of the groups were those children/youth who were already affected by abuse, neglect, substance use and/or poverty. School for many of these children/youth was the only ‘safe haven’ as highlighted so well in the article ‘COVID-19: Athlete Impact, The Real Miami’ written by Udonis Haslem of the Miami Heat basketball team. 

Schools closing here in New Jersey has impacted 1.3 million school-aged children/youth in ways similarly described by Haslem. The more than 580 school districts throughout the state shifted instruction to online platforms, which was an amazing feat in and of itself, attempting to ensure that students had access to a computer and the internet. Internet providers along with others began to offer reduced or free access to Wi-Fi so as to bring as many students to their new virtual learning world. Many school districts continued to offer breakfast and lunches to students. We as a community began to do the best we could in spite of the extraordinary circumstances.  

Even though four months have passed and some states have begun to move from sheltering-in to the ‘restart’ there is still a real need to fully comprehend the immense scope of the trauma. As Rebekka Schaffer (Workforce Development and Conference Coordinator, Center for Innovation in Population Health) wrote so eloquently in her recent blog ‘Unprecedented Transformation’ we have an opportunity to move away from the status quo to make meaningful systemic and transformational changes as we move forward. Expanding upon the powerful sentiments written by Rebekka we must first deeply understand the Systemic Interfunctional Trauma (SIFT) of COVID-19 the worldwide pandemic.   

If we accurately want to discovery the ‘what’ connected to COVID-19 using a communimetric perspective it will only make sense if it takes place within a Systemic Interfunctional Trauma (SIFT) context. There needs to be an understanding from the context of the inter-dynamic nature of systems directly impacting children/youth, families, communities, states, countries and the world. It is with this deeper understanding that the needs of that child/youth will become clearer after such unprecedented events connected to COVID-19. Then as a ‘team’ we can more effectively assist in transformational planning. However, we must additionally recognized that all team members including their family, school, and community have also been significantly impacted. It will be with this deeper understanding that systems partners-schools, communities and government officials-meaningfully develop a ‘shared vision’ so that all children/youth and families can be best served moving forward in our post-pandemic world.  

So how can we help children & youth now? There are four concrete strategies which we all can use to help support and reassure our young people-listen, observe, assess and engage

As learned from the Adverse Childhood Experiences or ACEs research studyearly traumatic life events can have a tremendous impact on someone’s future physical, emotional and psychological health. The simple act of listening to a child/youth so that they can be both heard and understood can be paramount in managing the impact of ‘social distancing.’ According to the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University2 building connections or connecting children with other people, schools and communities not only helps to build their support system but will support their development of resilience.  

Many children/youth after being home and ‘sheltered-in’ have disconnected socially with not only their peers but also with non-related adults. Active observations of verbal and non-verbal interactions can give us a window on how they are doing expressing themselves. A possible outcome of social isolation may be the struggle to reconnect with others, including lack of eye contact, tone of voice and an overall change in body language/posture. When we see this change adults can support them with reassurance and patience. Modeling positive interactions and communication for our children/youth provides examples that can speak louder than most words we may use. 

If they and their families have experienced drastic changes in their lives we must assess specific needs-a valid and reliable communication tool used throughout the United States, Canada and the world is the Child Adolescent Needs & Strengths or CANS tools3. The CANS is an open domain and free to use 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. Since the CANS was developed from a communication perspective it is easy to use and understand which makes it well liked by youth, parents, providers and other partners including schools.  

We must engage various stakeholders or systems throughout the restart Post COVID-19. There will be phases or stages outlined by local, state and federal departments-including education, health, legislative and public safety as we move beyond the sheltering in state where all have been for the past three months. The lack of communication will increase fear while strengthening the silos that we as a society have fostered for many decades. Instead we all must take an active role at the ‘table’ in order to prevent a disastrous outcome, not only including the resurgence of the virus but the ability to plan for everyone’s ‘new-normal’ to positively impact every home, school, community and our country. 

This will be our starting point for intersecting mental health in the weeks, months and years ahead of us in the planning for a ‘restart’ in a post-pandemic world. It will also increase everyone’s sense of hope. Somnieng Houren, a former Cambodian monk (Harvard University graduate) shares his personal story of survival, why he believes HOPE is the most powerful force in the world. Gaining optimism allows the human spirit to regain the ability to redefine our future. It is with this social-emotional reconnection that the seed of optimistic planning will take hold in coming to an understanding of the tremendous losses experienced by our young people.  


  1. Felitti, V. J., Anda, R. F., Nordenberg, D., Williamson, D. F., Spitz, A. M., Edwards, V., Koss, M. P., & Marks, J. S. (1998). Relationship of childhood abuse and household dysfunction to many of the leading causes of death in adults: The Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 14(4), 245–258. 
  1. Ginsburg, K. R., & Kinsman, S.B. (2014) Reaching Teens: Strength-based Communication Strategies to Build Resilience and Support Healthy Adolescent Development. American Academy of Pediatrics. 
  1. Child Adolescent Needs & Strengths (CANS) John Praed Foundation (2020) 

About the Author:

Kenneth McGill, EdS LMFT is a licensed Marriage & Family Therapy- Clinical Fellow with the American Association of Marriage & Family Therapy (AAMFT) for over 20 years and President of New Jersey Association for Marriage and Family Therapy-Independent Affiliate (NJAMFT-IA). He is also a Senior Training Consultation Specialist in the Behavioral Research Training Institute with the University of Behavioral Health Care at the Rutgers University-serving the New Jersey Division of Children’s System of Care in New Jersey. As a published author and researcher, Ken is the recipient of the Praed Foundation’s Outcomes Champion Award for work done to improve the quality of care for youth & families, especially in the area of increasing ways to collaborate with and empower individuals/families dealing with challenges.  

TCOM and the Post-Truth Culture: The Fourth Monkey

By: Dr. John Lyons

Much has been said about our current cultural moment… where it appears truth does not matter to a large segment of our population.  All that matters is ‘winning’ and if winning requires you to provide inaccurate or misleading information, then it is just another strategy to ‘win’.

This cultural belief system, of course, represents an existential crisis for all of science and, of course, TCOM as well.   If truth doesn’t matter in social services then we should all just claim we are doing a ‘perfect’ job and that everything is great, and there is no need for accountability because we can’t get better than our current performance.   I suspect we all know this way of thinking is dangerous nonsense, but it has led me to think about how we can characterize this problem.

We are all familiar with the three monkeys:  ‘See no evil’, ‘Hear no evil’ and “Speak no evil”.    These three monkeys represent strategies to pretend that something bad simply does not exist.   If you don’t see it, you are not responsible for doing anything about it.   If you don’t hear about it, it does not really pose a problem.   If you don’t talk about it, it will go away, and no one will notice.  

Clearly we now experience a fourth monkey: “Reframe evil” … If something bad happens, let’s just spin it into a positive or come up with a way to blame others, so we have no responsibility for it.

Artist credit:
Isabelle Bisnaire

At the Praed Foundation and the Center for Innovation in Population Health, we feel strongly we are better than that.    We can never learn to be more effective if we cannot accept our imperfections.   We learn far more from our failures than from our successes.   If we always pretend we never make mistakes… we are simply cursed to continue to make them.  The only difference between people who succeed and those who fail is that people who succeed fail more.   If we are truly going to improve the helping sector we have to understand both what we do well and where we need to do better.

In that spirit, we self-reflect on the shortcomings that we, as the TCOM team and field, need to improve.

  1. Better instruction and coaching on how to employ TCOM tools in a fully collaborative manner.
  2. Aligning the initial certification process to more closely match the actual work experience of completing the tools.
  3. Supporting people in developing their abilities to learn from data collected by the TCOM tools.
  4. Translating the good work into the academic research literature to help our academic partners understand the power and utility of the approach.

Moving forward we commit to working with all of you to address our shortcomings.

Transformational Relationships in a Pandemic

By: Cinthya Chin Herrera, PsyD

Across the country, most states have joined the the remainder of the world in moving nearly every aspect of our society into digital spheres.  In the Bay Area, many service providers have begun exploring the intricacies of working from home. At times this has meant connecting with kids, teens, families, and adult clients remotely through phone, video, or other telehealth modalities, and often in the context of new evolving demands from families and our communities.

With the call to action for many providers to maintain the continuity of care for essential services, we find the need to re-balance ourselves and move beyond the technology challenges and general uncertainties to fully ground ourselves in values underlying the CANS–collaboration and client care.

Our clients thrive when they feel safe, seen, heard and helped. This calls on us to be there–not to fix, but to provide the containment to hold all the new needs and strengths that are arising with these changing circumstances.  The ability to maintain a transformational relationship in the context of a pandemic is founded on the ability to provide clients a steady, authentic presence in a sea of unknowns, and to commit to their care, understanding that in times like this, your services are needed more than ever.   

Social distancing does not need to mean social isolation. But it does mean that we have to be intentional about connecting. While we may not be able to provide quick fixes or cures to the pandemic, our presence holds healing and transformative power. Remember, there is value in maintaining and tending to those relationships, innoculating against fear with accurate information, and reminding families that we are still committed to their transformational change and intend to still see them face-to-face when this is all over.  

To download a free, recent webinar by Drs. Lyons and Fernando about completing the CANS and ANSA during this time of social distancing, click here.

Collaborative Assessment in the “New Normal”: Completing the CANS and ANSA via phone

Dr. John Lyons and Dr. April Fernando presented a webinar on the use of the CANS and ANSA in non-face-to-face modalities (e.g., telephone).

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many organizations have had to adapt their means of communication for the safety of themselves and others. Effective collaboration becomes extremely important when using the phone or videoconferencing in assessing clients and providing care. Dr. Lyons and Dr. Fernando present telehealth approaches and tips before, during, and after these sessions. They answer questions you may find helpful when using these new approaches during this unprecedented time.

Centralized Training at UT Health San Antonio, Texas was kind enough to let us share it. Download the webinar for free at the link below:

Stay safe and well.

— TCOM Team

Using CANS Items to Define Child Well-Being and Study Child Welfare Outcomes

By: Dr. Amy Zimmerman, Casey Family Programs

Casey Family Programs (Casey) believes that every child deserves a safe, supportive, and permanent family. Casey works urgently and relentlessly with our target service population of older youth to achieve permanency so that no child will age out of Casey foster care. We believe building, or rebuilding, family is central in our practice and embodies our core values of Family-Centered Practice. Casey is also committed to becoming a learning organization and we regularly engage staff at all levels in the organization in the analysis and application of data so that we can improve the quality and consistency of our outcomes. From Data to Practice is a continuous quality improvement series that represents a learning opportunity driven by overarching questions from the field. We believe that:

  • Every youth and family that walks in our doors is a test of our system.
  • Those that exit teach us about the quality, effectiveness and efficiency of our system.
  • Those who are yet to come represent an opportunity for us to improve.

The focus of From Data to Practice is the quality of practice and achieved outcomes across all of Casey’s Child and Family Services. It also seeks to connect front-line staff with their own data. Staff propose the question and then identify the next steps to be taken based on the evaluation’s results.

In volume 2 of our From Data to Practice series, we explored the impact of placement with relatives versus placement with non-relatives on youth safety, permanency, and well-being. The target population was 436 youth who entered Casey out-of-home care between July 1, 2014, and July 1, 2015. Data were analyzed in July 2017, allowing for two years of tracking outcomes.



More time placed with family while in out-of-home care is associated with better youth well-being, including school achievement, health, and optimism (at most recent assessment).

Child welfare does not use a standard, agreed-upon definition of youth well-being. Because there is no agreed upon definition, Casey staff and leadership were interviewed about how they defined youth well-being. Themes from these interviews fell into four categories: Education Physical and Mental Health, Social Development, and Culture. Within these categories, certain indicators were repeatedly mentioned. These indicators were then aligned with individual items on Casey’s CANS assessment.

We calculated the sum of actionable items (areas where help is needed to improve youth functioning) for the most recent assessment. Youth’s most recent CANS assessment corresponded to either their exit CANS, if they had exited Casey out-of-home care, or their most recent CANS as of July 1, 2017 (the end of the study period). Youth who spent more than half their time placed with family while in out-of-home care had fewer documented well-being challenges (an average of 1.25 actionable well-being items), compared to youth who spent less than half their time placed with family while in out-of-home care (an average of 1.94 actionable well-being items). More time placed with family indicated better youth well-being in school, mental and physical health, social development, and cultural identity.

Legal Permanency

The more time youth spend placed with family while in out-of-home care, the more likely they are to obtain legal permanency.

Youth who spent more time placed with family had higher legal permanency achievement rates, and the percent of youth who achieved legal permanency went up in a step-wise fashion as the amount of time placed with family while in care increased. For example, 38 percent of the youth who spent no time placed with family achieved legal permanency compared to 83 percent of the youth who spent all of their time placed with family.

Time to event analyses were completed to assess the time it took youth to exit to legal permanency. Comparisons were made base don the amount of time youth spent in out-of-home care placed with family. Results indicated that  1) Youth who spent 100% of their time placed with family while in Casey out-of-home care exited to legal permanency significantly faster and at a higher rate than those who spent less than 100% of their time placed with family while in care 2) Youth who spent 51-99% of their time with family in Casey out-of-home care exited to legal permanency significantly faster than youth who spent 50% or less of their time in care with family.

What we can do

This research provides important insights into how to approach practice in the future. This research furthers understanding of how our values affect outcomes among the children and families we serve and affirms Casey’s belief that families and cultural relevance play a central role in the decision-making process

We Recommend

  • Persevering in engaging youth and caregivers in conversations about what well-being means to youth and families.
  • Persisting in exploring youth identity and belonging, and their relationship to well-being.
  • Examining licensing requirements for kinship caregivers and exploring ways to simplify and expedite the process.
  • Persevering in engaging families, including advocating for and elevating the voice of birth parents.
  • Persisting in challenging bias against birth families, including those who have previously had their parental rights terminated.
  • Continuing to use and incorporate family group conferences or other family-centered teaming techniques as a practice strategy to elevate relatives’ voices, create a space for the relatives to develop their own plan, and break down power differentials.

Please visit: for the full From Data to Practice vol. 2 report, which includes more detailed analyses and findings.

Note: Time with family is defined as the number of days in Casey out-of-home care spent residing in a trial home visit, relative placement, or placement with fictive kin. These days were divided by the total number of days in care for that youth (creating the percentage of time placed with family).

Caring for Each Other…The CANS Can Help

By Ken McGill, Eds, LMFT, Rutgers University

The impact of the coronavirus, now labeled a pandemic, has been worldwide. If we take a moment, we will see that there has been a change in daily life; this is true for individuals, couples, families, agencies, institutions or any other entity throughout our planet.