The Alabama Department of Mental Health
Behavioral Health Assessment System (ABHAS)



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Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths Comprehensive Multisystem Assessment (CANS) Background

The Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths (CANS) assessment tool has been selected by the Alabama Department of Mental Health (ADMH), Mental Illness Division, to be used statewide for children and adolescents receiving services through the public mental health system. A large number of individuals have collaborated in the development of the CANS-Comprehensive. Along with the CANS versions for developmental disabilities, juvenile justice, and child welfare, this information integration tool is designed to support individual case planning and the planning and evaluation of service systems. The CANS-Comprehensive is an open domain tool for use in service delivery systems that address the mental health of children, adolescents and their families. John S. Lyons, Ph.D., now with the University of Ottawa, developed the initial CANS and since that time, numerous localities and states have added their suggestions, making the CANS an instrument that has developed as a “mass collaboration.” The copyright is held by the Buddin Praed Foundation to ensure that it remains free to use. There is no cost to use the tools. However, CANS users must be trained and certified annually.