Use of a Structured Approach to Assessment Within Child Welfare: Applications of the Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths-Trauma Comprehensive (CANS-Trauma)

  • Cassandra Kisiel
  • Elizabeth Torgersen
  • Lindsey E. G. Weil
  • Tracy Fehrenbach
Chapter

Abstract

Providing a comprehensive assessment is a key step in identifying how to best address the needs of traumatized children and families, and delivering trauma-informed services and interventions within child welfare settings. A comprehensive and trauma-informed approach to assessment gathers information across several key domains; gathers information from multiple perspectives or informants; utilizes a range of assessment techniques; assesses child and caregiver needs and strengths over time; and translates and integrates assessment findings for use in practice. The CANS-Trauma Comprehensive is a multi-purpose assessment tool designed to be applicable in a range of service settings, with an emphasis on assessing a broad range of trauma experiences and areas of need exhibited by traumatized children and their caregiving systems; assessing strengths or contextual factors and systems that can support a child’s adaptation from trauma; and supporting and guiding trauma-informed and strengths-based treatment and service planning for children and adolescents with exposure to trauma. The CANS approach is designed to address some of the existing challenges of assessment within child welfare through supporting clinical decision making, including level of care and placement decisions; linking assessment findings directly to individualized service and treatment plans; engaging family members in the assessment process; and facilitating the planning and evaluation of service, systems. This chapter overviews the use of the CANS-Trauma in the context of trauma-informed, child welfare practice, including how its use aligns with the key child welfare outcomes of safety, permanency and well-being.

Keywords

Assessment Practice Trauma-informed Service planning CANS-Trauma 

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Cassandra Kisiel
    • 1
  • Elizabeth Torgersen
    • 1
  • Lindsey E. G. Weil
    • 1
  • Tracy Fehrenbach
    • 1
  1. 1.Northwestern University Feinberg School of MedicineChicagoUSA

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