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Meaningful Use of the CANS Video Training

The Meaningful Use of the CANS Video Training, was developed in conjunction with our CCTASI Regional CANS-Trauma Consortium, made up of child welfare administrators and staff, behavioral health staff and CANS trainers from Indiana, Wisconsin, Illinois and Tennessee. The training is broken out into 5 Learning Areas demonstrating how the CANS tool can be meaningfully incorporated into child welfare practice. This training is intended to engage the audience in a discussion about how to make the CANS more meaningful in practice and is meant for use in professional development training to support caseworkers, casework supervisors, and other service providers working with child welfare involved youth. 


Learning Area 1: Introducing and Explaining the CANS to Families
  • Orienting families and youth to the CANS is an important part of engagement– it increases transparency and may increase family trust, involvement and cooperation.
  • It takes practice to become comfortable introducing and explaining the CANS to families. There are challenges and you will have to develop your own style.
  • There are different ways to complete or score the CANS. Your approach may depend on your and the family’s preference and comfort level.
  • There are benefits of reviewing the CANS scores with family members initially and over time.
Learning Area 2: Engaging the Family Using the CANS
  • It takes practice to effectively engage a family in the case process using the CANS. What works for one family may not work for another.
  • Engagement with the CANS requires that youth and caregivers are encouraged to ask questions, weigh in, and agree/disagree with CANS ratings.
  • Reviewing the CANS scores with the caregiver(s) and youth allows them to ask questions, contribute their ideas and builds a mutual understanding about the next steps needed to get the child to return home.
Learning Area 3: Collaborating with Providers Using the CANS
  • The CANS can facilitate the process of casework staff sharing information with other providers. This can minimize the number of times that a family has to repeat their stories and also helps the family experience more continuity of care.
  • It is important for new providers to discuss and review scores from previous CANS with families. This can increase transparency and gives families the opportunity to adjust, clarify or add important pieces of information.
  • The CANS will ideally be used in Child and Family Team meetings as a method of acknowledging progress and successes, identifying remaining needs and ensuring that all members are on the same page regarding next steps.
Learning Area 4: Using the CANS in a Child and Family Team Meeting
  • Using the CANS as part of a team meeting may provide an opportunity for all members of the team to:
    • Contribute their perspectives
    • Ask clarifying questions
    • Develop a shared understanding of progress
    • Identify and discuss outstanding needs
    • Develop new goals or plans for the family that are directly tied to areas of continued need
Learning Area 5: Using the CANS in Supervision
  • Incorporating the CANS into the supervision process is essential to understanding the challenges and successes caseworkers have with using the tool in a collaborative way.
  • Supervisory support can be critical to a caseworker’s success in using the CANS meaningfully in practice.
  • There are written resources that can be used to support the use of the CANS in supervision and casework practice.
  • The direction and support a supervisor provides in use of the CANS can have impact on the quality of service provided to child welfare-involved youth and families.

For access to the 5 Learning Area presentations, video clips, facilitator’s guide, support materials, and training evaluations, click the link below. 

Already completed a CANS Application Video Training? Complete the facilitator’s survey below to share your experience!