Singapore Adopts Assessment Tools

Chapin Hall provides support to national ministry to build a person-centered system of care

Nearly a decade ago, a group of child welfare professionals in Singapore’s Ministry of Social and Family Development were looking for a way to assess the needs of children in their care, and measure and communicate their outcomes. That’s when they learned of the Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths (CANS) tool.

“A collaborative tool focused on personal change was exactly what we needed,” said Karen Sik of the Ministry of Social and Family Development. “What we found in this set of tools was an outcome management framework that was elegantly designed to support person-centered planning at all levels of the system.”

Since adopting the system in 2010, the Ministry’s Rehabilitation and Protection Group has provided for ongoing training and coaching to ensure that users accurately capture the needs of the child, and then use what they captured to drive treatment planning, program management and system and policy design.

In 2013, the Singapore team added the Family Advocacy and Support Tool (FAST). While the CANS focuses on the child in care, the FAST is used to determine the highest needs of the family by rating the family member with the highest needs for each item.

“All of the partners involved in using the tools were part of customizing the CANS And FAST items,” said Sik. “People own what they help create.” During this period, Dr. John Lyons provided regular guidance and training in adapting and using these tools.

At Chapin Hall, the TCOM team consists of more than a dozen dedicated experts in child and family welfare, behavioral health, juvenile justice and education, while calling on additional specialized expertise from the broader Chapin Hall team. Together, they translate knowledge from science into practice for family-serving agencies. This practice in turn informs and builds on the science.

Chapin Hall provides training, coaching, implementation supports, technical assistance, and advanced analytic work. Consistent with the values of TCOM, we tailor our supports to your specific culture and context. For more information, contact us at

All of the partners involved in using the tools were part of customizing the CANS And FAST items. People own what they help create.

Karen Sik, Singapore Ministry of Social and Family Development