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Did you know that we sometimes re-visit our standard versions of the TCOM tools in order to replace outdated language, fix errors, update content and more?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:

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:

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


Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: