Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths

The Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths (CANS) tool helps adults understand what kids and teens need, and what they’re good at. Here’s how it works: 

A basic explanation of the CANS:  

  1. Assessment: The CANS asks questions and gathers info about how kids are feeling, acting, and doing in different parts of their life, like at school or home. 
  1. Identifying Needs: By using the CANS, adults can figure out what kids might need help with, like feeling sad, behaving in certain ways, or dealing with hard family situations. 
  1. Highlighting Strengths: Along with finding needs, the CANS also helps find what kids are good at, like having friends, being good at sports, or being creative. These strengths can be used to help them feel better and do better. 
  1. Informing Treatment Planning: When adults know what kids need and what they’re good at, they can make a plan to help them. This plan might include things like talking to a counselor, joining a group, or getting extra help at school. 
  1. Monitoring Progress: The CANS isn’t just used once—it’s used over time to see how kids are doing. By checking in regularly, adults can see if the plan is working and if anything needs to change. 

Overall, the CANS helps adults support kids and teens better by understanding their needs and strengths, and making sure they get the right kind of help to feel better and do better. 

More information about the CANS is available on these Magellan of Wyoming pages: