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As part of the system development and to assist in evaluating the strengths and needs of children and youth, DCYF has implemented the use of the Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths (CANS), a standardized, nationally validated functional assessment that includes a separate modular on trauma. Children and youth who enter residential care and specialized foster care are assessed using the CANS and reassessed quarterly and when they are discharged from placement. Results of the CANS are entered in a Web Portal and are used to inform the assessment and the development of the treatment plan. The child-specific information from the CANS is available for the worker to review and for DCYF use for research and analysis to improve practice. This data was used to develop the Level of Need Assessment used in the CRU process with additional information being imported to the Web based portal.
Monthly certification training is provided for community staff and DCYF staff. All staff using the CANS are required to complete a yearly re-certification. The CANS is used by community providers for other services.
Beginning in March of 2016, for all placement requests, a Level of Need Assessment is completed and submitted concurrently with the placement request prior to the Central Referral Unit exploring placement for the child or youth. The Level of Need Assessment includes modules of the Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths (CANS) assessment. Scores generated from the youth risk areas and behavioral health dimensions are compared to guidelines for determining the level of care a child needs and the services appropriate for each of the five (5) levels.
DCYF oversees and funds the Diagnostic Assessment Service program which is targeted for youth, age 12 to 18 referred by family court and truancy court who require intensive diagnostic assessment to determine appropriate case planning. Outpatient DAS allows youth to remain at home while being evaluated. DAS reports are comprised of a psychosocial history and educational reports including educational testing and psychological evaluations with IQ testing. Based on this comprehensive assessment, a set of treatment recommendations are developed to guide the court’s disposition on a youth.