Transforming Family Support in Italy:

Using a tool that considers culture, stengths, complexities

Antonella DiTroia, left, and Anna Didoni, right, of Italy with April Fernando of Chapin Hall at the 2018 TCOM conference.

In their work with youth and their families in Italy, Anna Didoni and Antonella Di Troia discovered that the clinical situations they were facing were often complex and multi-problematic. They were searching for an “integrated vision that takes into account cultural background, needs and strengths of children, adolescents and their families.” Shortly after, they came across the Transformational Collaborative Outcomes Management (TCOM) team and its most widely used tool—the Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths (CANS).

After meeting the creator of the CANS, Dr. John Lyons, Didoni and Di Troia immediately became certified in the tool. They saw its potential and knew they could apply it to their work in Italy.

Since becoming certified, the Italian team is doing the work to ensure that children and families across the globe are benefitting from the vision of TCOM. They have trained and certified more than 400 people in the CANS and have hosted their own TCOM/CANS Conference every year since 2014. Not only are they training the CANS, they are contributing unique and meaningful research to the collaborative with projects occurring at the national, municipal, and regional levels.

Polar Scheme
Didoni and Di Troia use the polar scheme to display the needs and strengths of both the child and parent. The wider the area displayed, the better the child’s functioning in that area.

One project led by the CANPS of Fondazione IRCCS Ca’Granda Policlinico is the use of the CANS in services for unaccompanied migrant minors who are affected by psychiatric symptoms and disorders. Once these children—typically aged 13-17—are enrolled, they interact with a multidisciplinary team that involves social workers, doctors, and educators. The CANS allows the various professionals to communicate effectively and openly with each other and with the child they are serving. The goal in these interactions is to ultimately address the psychiatric needs, provide psychological assistance, and create a connection between the child and the network of services.

Data from their previous studies has shown that finding a shared vision between different agencies and health care professionals increases the reliability of the CANS assessment. A reliable assessment leads to more informed decision making and more positive outcomes for youth.

In its mission to improving the well-being of all youth and their families, the TCOM team offers online and in-person training and certification in the CANS tool. For more information about the TCOM work taking place in Italy, please contact If you would like to know more about the TCOM team and training opportunities, please reach out to or visit the TCOM Conversations blog.