Helping Parents & Caregivers Play an Active Role in Their Child’s Treatment
One of our goals here at Community Data Roundtable is to help parents and caregivers of children with mental health needs play an active role in their child’s treatment. We understand that it can be difficult to navigate the very complex, and sometimes intimidating, behavioral and mental health system. We hear time and time again from parents of children with mental health challenges about how they often feel overwhelmed and insecure about their role in their own child’s treatment process. They want to be advocates for their children, but feel they are unable to make informed decisions because they do not understand what is being said by their treatment team or know how to interpret complicated data.
CDR believes that parents should be equal partners with the providers that serve their families. We think that it is important to equip parents and caregivers with the information that they need to make informed decisions about their child’s treatment. At the individual level we do this by providing a tool for evaluators to ensure high quality evaluations and treatment monitoring, plus metrics that help everyone understand your child’s severity, and treatment progress.
At the system level, CDR analyzes the data that comes in from using our application to assess and monitor outcomes, and thus able to make large scale community reports. This data can be used to rate different providers in the area against each other, and provide norms and insights that can help a parent understand what is available to treat their child’s needs in the community.
What is the CDR CANS and how does it help me and my child?
The CDR CANS is specialized version of the Child Adolescent Needs Strength Assessment Tool (CANS). The CANS is an assessment tool that focuses on a child’s needs and strengths, and objectively tracks those areas that are improving with a child, and those that still need more work. It is well liked by parents, as it promotes communication and consensus among the child’s entire treatment team. The CDR CANS was developed by multiple experts on child development and mental health, with a special focus on the needs of ASD children. It is tested on live data from the areas where it is used.
What are some of the benefits of using the CDR CANS?
Lack of standardization is a big problem for families seeking optimal care for their child.
The CANS assures that an evaluator obtains all of the pertinent information for appropriate treatment matching (aligning your child’s needs with the treatment options in the area). Here are some additional benefits that result in using the CDR-CANS and DataPool:
- A Severity Score that ranks your child’s needs.
- An Autism Level score, based off the DSM-5, that rates the child’s autism deficits (when present).
- Multiple graphs and reports that tracks change over time, so that your child’s progress can be tracked and understood.
- A list of actionable needs, that you can and should review with your evaluator, to ensure that everyone is on the same page regarding what needs to be worked on for your child’s recovery.
- A list of possible service matches in the area for your child and family’s unique needs. If there is an empirically verified evidence-based program available, this is always the best match for your child.
- Data from your child’s CANS is available for discussion with your provider and your managed care entity. The CANS can act as a clear, steady statement on your child’s needs, and facilitates coordinating care.
Community Outcomes Reports & Dashboards
In making decisions for your child’s care, it is helpful to have an understanding of what does and doesn’t work. In mental health and social services, many of us look to our friends and professionals for referrals for help. It is helpful to compare what people tell you to real data, because sometimes their advice is well intentioned, but simply not accurate.
To assist families with this decision making, CDR produces Community Outcomes Reports on important services. The most relevant of these at this time is our BHRS outcomes reports. This report looks at the clinical impact of BHRS services, which are very popular services in Pennsylvania for children with highly disruptive ADHD and autism. For a full explanation of the analysis, please read our white paper. However, one of the important take-aways is that BHRS is not necessary a solution for all children’s needs. While there are some children who seem to benefit from the program, there are some profiles that seem to not benefit as much from the program. To know which group your child would fall into would require having them assessed with the CANS. This could help you make decisions on the treatment for your child.