During Working Together for Kids’ Mental Health, a project that built and strengthened partnerships between schools, health professionals and mental health agencies, a number of agency representatives received training in identification and needs assessment tools. The understanding was that these tools would be tested in order to arrive at a decision moving forward.
Service providers from Hastings-Prince Edward, Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox & Addington, Lanark and Leeds-Grenville met in Kingston on February 3rd to talk about the various tools and hear from representatives from Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes about their experiences with the Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths (CANS) assessment tool.
Marg Cox, Executive Director of Point-In-Time and her team told us that the tool crosses sectors in that it can be used in the fields of mental health, child welfare, child development, youth justice and autism, and in situations of crisis and trauma. CANS can be seen as a tool for identification, discovery, quality improvement and engagement, and has the capacity to be used both at an organization and a systems level.
Benefits of implementation in Haliburton included: family-centred and strength-based, creates a common language, streamlines referrals and paperwork, can travel with the family, flexible, may be completed with the client electronically through the use of an APP (which is in the process of being developed for sharing with other communities), and the data is measurable. Training in the tool is available on-line and through group classes which were felt to provide a richer professional development experience. Please CLICK HERE to view the CANS presentation.
During the afternoon, community discussion groups responded to questions about the possible advantages and disadvantages of using CANS, the impact on inter-agency and inter-sectoral relationships, and ideas for next steps. A number of common themes and ideas were identified during the report-back.
From here, the children and youth mental health Executive Directors will review the information gathered and develop a plan for moving forward.