Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths Overview

One of the tools used in the new Youth Empowerment Services (YES) system of care is the called the Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths (CANS). The CANS tool is an effective way to identify areas of strengths and unmet needs that may contribute to the mental health concerns of a child or adolescent. Among other things, the CANS tool is part of the assessment process used to determine if a child has serious emotional disturbance (SED) and qualifies for YES services. The CANS provides a common language that unites parents or caregivers, the child and the people involved in the child's care. It communicates the child's and the family's strengths and needs. Plus it gauges the child's ability to function within the family and the community, offering a clearer picture of how their needs may impair daily activities.

The Division of Behavioral Health has partnered with the Idaho Federation of Families to offer a series of trainings for families around the children's mental health system of care. Visit the Training page on this site for a link to a recorded webinar for families on how to get the most out of a CANS.

A short video explaining the CANS for families will be available soon!

CANS/ICANS for Mental Health Providers

To be eligible to administer the CANS, providers must be certified through the Praed Foundation. Recertification is required annually. Effective January 1, 2019, the Idaho CMH CANS course will be the only approved certification course for the YES program. For more information about this change, please click here. Prior to 1/1/2019, certifications in any course provided by the Praed Foundation are considered valid for Idaho YES CANS certification. Most training is conducted through the Praed training site,

ICANS is a secure, electronic, internet-based system used to administer and manage CANS assessments in Idaho. . More information about this tool, how it works and how to get certified in CANS and trained to use the ICANS are available on the ICANS website. Agencies can request to get set up in the ICANS system. Click here to learn more.

Discounted CANS Certification Costs are Available for Medicaid/Optum Providers for a Limited Time

To support Idaho’s implementation of the Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths (CANS) Assessment, the Division of Behavioral Health is offering a limited number of CANS Certification codes to Medicaid/Optum Providers.  These codes will allow individuals to certify on the CANS at no cost through the Praed Foundation’s collaborative training site. Click here for more information.

Changes to ICANS Social Security Number Requirement Now in Effect

Effective June 10, 2019, recent changes to the ICANS system now allow any ICANS user to create a record within the system using all zeros (000-00-0000) as the Social Security Number (SSN). Previously, ICANS users were required to submit a request to the ICANS Helpdesk to create the record prior to having the option to complete the CANS, potentially delaying the assessment process. Now, in situations in which a client does not have a full SSN or is unable to provide the last 4 digits of the SSN, ICANS users will create the record using zeros without submitting a request to the Helpdesk. Read the Division of Behavioral Health memo on the iCANS SSN requirement change (PDF).