Child & Adolescent Needs & Strengths (CANS) Tool

Online Training & Certification

The Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths (CANS) tool is an assessment strategy that is designed to be used for decision support and outcomes management. Its primary purpose is to allow a system to remain focused on the shared vision of serving children and families, by representing children at all levels of the system.

This online self-paced course summarizes the CANS tool and how it will be used in practice.

Note: This course uses audio and video. Each module below will launch into a separate browser window/tab.


CANS Certification and Recertification Directions

  1. Complete the online training modules.
    Note: For recertification, it is not necessary to complete the online training modules, but it is highly recommended to complete them to refresh your knowledge.
  2. Email for the test vignette and scoring form. Your test vignette and scoring form will be sent to you within five business days. Please add the email address to your Safe Senders list to ensure that emails regarding your CANS certification are sent to your inbox and not filtered to your Junk Mail.
    Note: Each worker must request the test by using their individual email address, and may not share the test or scoring form.
  3. Complete the scoring sheet electronically or print it to complete it by hand. If completed by hand, ensure that results are legible when submitted.
  4. Email, or if completed by hand, scan and email the completed test to Note: We are no longer accepting exams via fax due to technical issues with receiving faxes timely.
  5. You will receive an email from with your results. You are responsible to print out this email and provide it to your supervisor as proof of certification.
    Note: You will not receive any other documentation confirming your certification. If your score is below 0.70 (the score required for certification), you will receive another test vignette attached to your results email. You will need to complete this test vignette and submit it for scoring.

General Information

  • Completion of all modules of this training equals 2 Continuing Education Hours (CEHs).
  • You are encouraged to review the document titled "CANS Item Level Additional Guidance" for expanded information regarding commonly misunderstood items.
  • After you submit your test form, your results will be provided to you within 10 business days. If you have not received your results within 15 business days, please contact
  • If you do not achieve the required reliability score of 0.70, you will be provided with another test vignette with your initial results. You will need to then score that vignette and submit it for scoring.
  • If you fail to reach the required reliability three times, your results will be evaluated and feedback will be provided. Please email your 3 failed CANS scores to Lindsay Wood at
  • The Wisconsin Child Welfare Professional Development System will not provide supervisors with lists of workers and their CANS results. Agencies are responsible for creating internal processes to ensure their workers are maintaining CANS certification.
  • At this time there is no process to alert workers of the need for recertification. It is the responsibility of each worker to know their certification date and to maintain their certification.
  • The scores for each vignette will not be distributed.
  • Sending multiple emails will not make your process faster.
  • For questions not related to scoring results, please contact Lindsay Wood at

PauseBefore you begin, please download and have available all of the resources listed in the "Essential Resources" box above. They will be vital as you go through the training.

Modules Duration Transcript

1. Introduction to CANS

Begin Module 1

26 min. download transcript

2. Integrating CANS Into Your Practice

Begin Module 2

55 min. download transcript

3. Wisconsin Policy

Begin Module 3

20 min. download transcript

4. Practice Vignettes Overview

Begin Module 4

3 min.
+ activity
download transcript

Practice Vignette Activity

In this activity, you will read a vignette then complete a CANS for each child. (Similar to the CANS certification exam.)

After submitting your practice ratings, your responses will be compared to those of an expert rater. Rationale for each rating will also be provided, which may be printed.

If you prefer to complete the ratings on paper first, please download the blank rating sheets:

Additional Practice Vignettes (self-scored) - all are PDF files
These vignettes must be scored using the blank rating sheets (see above).

5. Final Debrief / Review

Begin Module 4

4 min. download transcript

This course requires Adobe Flash Player.


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Last updated: 4/28/2016 1:39:10 PM