Wisconsin Child Welfare Professional Development System

Child and Adolescent Needs & Strengths (CANS) Tool Training & Certification Exam

The Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths (CANS) Tool is an assessment strategy designed for decision support and outcomes management. It is completed for all children in out-of-home care. It is used in case practice in the following ways:

  1. This tool captures overall functioning, wellbeing, needs and strengths of the child and current caregiver.
  2. Information captured on the assessment tool can be used to match children with caregivers based on their level of need and the caregiver’s level of care.
  3. The CANS assessment is used in rate setting to determine the supplemental points.

CANS Tool Training.

Individuals who complete or rate a CANS are required to be trained and certified in its use. Caseworkers, Youth Justice workers, Supervisors, CST workers and anyone scoring or approving a CANS for children who are placed in out-of-home care must complete the training and become certified in the CANS Tool. This CANS training offered by WCWPDS fulfills the training requirement. By the end of this training, you will be prepared to complete the certification exam.

Completing the CANS Certification

CANS Tool Training.

If you want training hours for completing the CANS Tool Training documented in your PDS Online account, you can access the CANS Tool training using the link below.

Access the CANS Tool Training in PDS Online.

If you’re not interested in having training hours documented in your PDS Online account, complete the modules that are posted on this webpage below.

CANS Certification Exam

The exam begins by reading a short vignette about a child and family. Then, you’ll be asked to complete a CANS for the family.

Access the CANS Exam in PDS Online

If you were previously certified and need to re-certify, click here:

Caseworkers who rate the CANS and have passed the initial exam are required to become re-certified annually.

Re-Certification Information

The exam is accessed and scored through PDS Online. Everyone in need of certification must have a PDS Online Account. If you have questions about creating a PDS Online account or logging into your account, please click here.

*THE CERTIFICATION EXAM IS VALID ONLY FOR WISCONSIN USERS.*
You can access and complete the CANS Exam once you have finished the CANS Tool training that can be accessed in PDS Online at the red button earlier on this page. For any questions about the training and certification process, please contact our office at cans@wcwpds.wisc.edu.