SC-DSS Child Protective Services: CANS, Gateway Implementation Project

Grants and Contracts Details


Abstract South Carolina Department of Social Services Child Protective Services: CANS Implementation Project Purpose This proposal is to support South Carolina Department of Social Services (DSS), Child Protective Services’ on-going implementation of the Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths (CANS) assessment. The Center for Innovation in Population Health (IPH Center) project team will provide testing and analysis of levels of care decision support models based on the CANS; conduct a statewide survey of the use of the South Carolina CANS; and training and coaching on the use of the CANS. Qualifications The CANS is a functional assessment tool that has been in use in child welfare, children’s behavioral health, educational and juvenile justice systems since the late 1990s. Developed by John S. Lyons, PhD while at Northwestern University, the CANS is now used across the United States, Canada and over 10 countries internationally. It is estimated that 80% of children served in public behavioral health and child welfare systems in the United States have had a CANS. Since the development of the CANS, other similar tools have been created including the Adult Needs and Strengths Assessment, Family Advocacy and Support Tool, Crisis Assessment Tool, and the Readiness Inventory for Successful Employment. During the last 30+ years Dr. Lyons’ work has received support from the organizations that he has worked in which contributed to the development of his team and the evolution of the Transformational Collaborative Outcomes Management (TCOM) approach: University of Ottawa, Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago, and most recently at the Center for Innovation in Population Health (IPH Center) at the University of Kentucky. Established in 2019, the IPH Center provides a platform for the TCOM approach to flourish in a research setting that can draw multi-sector collaborative relationships with key partners in the academy as well as throughout the human service sectors. Within the context of the IPH Center, TCOM and its tools, such as the CANS, broadens the strategy of personal transformation to addressing population health improvement. Methods 1. Decision Support Model Testing: the IPH Center team will test and refine level of care decision support models customized based on the South Carolina CANs. Testing will include a clinical case review and empirical testing using data collected by South Carolina DSS. 2. Workforce Development: a. New tool development: South Carolina Office of Home Abuse and Neglect Safety Assessment (based on the FAST) b. Continue support of certified trainers in the state c. Facilitation and support of a South Carolina CANS Supervisor Community of Practice: to meet monthly d. Conduct a statewide Collaborative Helping Quality Improvement (CHQ-In) survey on the use of the CANS e. Facilitation and support of a decision support model Learning Collaborative for Qualified Residential Treatment Program (QRTP) Qualified Individuals (QIs): to meet monthly 3. South Carolina CANS Training a. TCOM Overview: 6 training events; up to 50 trainees per event b. CANS Orientation: 12 training events; up to 25 trainees per event c. Training Coordination on for 18 training events Qualifications of Key Staff April D. Fernando, PhD Background and experience: Dr. Fernando is the Associate Director for Workforce Development at the Center for Innovation in Population Health, and an Assistant Professor of Health, Behavior and Society at the College of Public Health, University of Kentucky. Dr. Fernando works with non-profit agencies as well as child welfare and behavioral health care systems across the United States in implementing Transformational Collaborative Outcomes Management (TCOM) and utilizing the TCOM tools such as the Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths (CANS). She developed the CANS-Commercially Sexually Exploited version, which is used nationally. A licensed clinical psychologist, Dr. Fernando brings her years of experience as an educator, clinician, and mental health administrator to her work with TCOM and the CANS. Position Description: Dr. Fernando will be the CANS implementation lead for this project. In this role she will consult across the team to support the use of the CANS as a foundation for trauma- informed care and a data source for continuous quality improvement (CQI) efforts. John S. Lyons, PhD Background and experience: Dr. Lyons is the Director of the IPH Center and a Professor of Health Management and Policy in the College of Public Health. Across his 39-year career he has been an innovator and leader in outcome management and continuous quality improvement. He developed the theory of measurement—Communimetrics–behind the SSIT and the CANS. This year approximately 80% of all children and youth served in either child welfare or public behavioral health in the United States will receive a CANS assessment. Many implementations have sustained for nearly two decades evolving the approach consistent with the tenets of quality improvement. Dr. Lyons proposed the system management theory of TCOM which has been successfully used to foster positive change in systems across the United States and internationally. TCOM is the first person-centered theory of outcomes management and is intended to ‘engineer’ the implementation of person-centered thinking throughout a system of care. Dr. Lyons is a leader in research in residential treatment and psychiatric hospitalization and was Editor of the journal Residential Treatment for Children and Youth for seven years. Position Description Dr. Lyons will be the Decision Support Model lead for this project. Joanne E. Trinkle, MSW Background and experience: Joanne Trinkle, MSW is a Senior Policy Analyst at the Center for Innovation in Population Health at the University of Kentucky. Ms. Trinkle earned her Master’s in Social Work from Syracuse University. Ms. Trinkle brings over 20 years of experience in providing training, technical assistance and systems change support within children’s mental health and public child welfare systems of care. Ms. Trinkle is a master trainer and subject matter expert on various topics including caring for children who have experienced trauma, child and adolescent development, and service provision within Medicaid funded programs for special populations. Position Description: Ms. Trinkle will be the lead trainer. She will facilitate the CANS training events and assist with curriculum development.
Effective start/end date1/1/2312/31/23


  • South Carolina Department of Social Services: $217,703.00


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