What’s going on in California?
How to seamlessly integrate CANS within the Child and Family Team (CFT) Process

by: Kendra McCray

Policy Analyst at the Center for Innovation in Population Health at the University of Kentucky

A few weeks ago, I was able to spend time listening to a conversation between multiple counties within California. To say my experience was absolutely amazing would be minimizing the experience. Listening to the conversations around CANS implementation and how they have effectively been able to integrate it into their Child and Family Team (CFT) process was astonishing. The leadership in California was able to transform an experience that could have been difficult for some into a process that has changed the lives of families that they are able to serve. Have you experienced any challenges implementing a new process? Right, this is very common, but somehow California was able to make it work. I am sure with hiccups, but I believe that is what they call “Growing Pains”.

For California, coaching was the common theme of discussion and how is one of the most important tools that can be used in this process. From the use of TCOM coaches, California Trainers, to internal champions; the use of coaches was able to promote support and allow the staff to have a voice in this process. Coaching should be the necessary next step after certification. Understanding the tool is one thing, but how does this help elevate your current work? I have a question; did you learn this in your TCOM Training? Most likely you did not, this is why coaching is so important. Helping you understand how to use the tools to help make your work easier and less stressful. Also helping families understand the strengths they have within or available to them and the needs we need to address.

Leaders in California all agreed that their CANS help guide and lead the conversation. Really taking the TCOM values to heart. Using this Communimetric tool is not really understanding a new type of perspective. It is putting a name to the work we already do on a daily basis with children, families, natural supports, therapists, doctors, etc. TCOM is able to bring it all together. How do you use this theory in your work outside of TCOM tools? You may have never really thought about it, but you do.

Wooden toys arranged in a way to portray leadership
"TCOM is able to bring it all together" - Kendra McCray

Having meaningful conversations to gain understanding about someone without shaming or blaming. Yes, this is Communimetric.

California was able to allow this consensus-building tool to help make the CFT process run flawlessly. Allowing the CANS to lead that conversation helped them gain buy-in from their families and aid in gathering the information needed to promote well-being, safety, and permanency. Using the CANS in this way also showed in their outcomes and I was thrilled to hear how this was helping make effective changes to the work that the wonderful staff in California is doing. I would love to hear any outcomes that you may have, please share.

Lastly, kudos to California and their leadership for the incredible work that is being done. Thanks for being the example of what all these wonderful TCOM Tools can be used for. Thanks for leading the pack. If you have any experience that you would like to share about your implementation process, we would love to hear your story.

Picture of Author Kendra L. McCray
Kendra L. McCray

Kendra McCray, BSc. is an Associate Policy Analyst at the Center for Innovation in Population Health at the University of Kentucky. She trains professionals on Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths (CANS) and other Transformational Collaborative Outcomes Management (TCOM) tools, as well as supports TCOM implementations. Prior to joining the TCOM team, Mrs. McCray was a Program Coordinator with the South Carolina Department of Social Services, where she served as a facilitator on the implementation of the Family Advocacy and Support Tool (FAST). Mrs. McCray believes that the well-being, safety, and permanency of all families, caregivers, and children are the most important part of her career, and she is dedicated to ensuring jurisdictions across the globe are equipped with the tools to ensure that happens.    

2 Responses

  1. Coaching is a really great resource! How can people get information on how to implement coaching at their agencies? Is there someone they can reach out to?

  2. Thanks for sharing, Kendra! Coaching and collaborative learning experiences are such a cool way to improve our knowledge and skills in order to better serve others.

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