Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago is a policy center that brings together teams of researchers to benefit children, families, and their communities. Chapin Hall has been engaged in program and policy evaluation involving complex child-serving agencies for over three decades. By facilitating the CANS-NY Institute, Chapin Hall continues its long-standing commitment to partnering with public systems and agencies and providing these systems with useful and accessible research.

The TCOM (Transformational Collaborative Outcomes Management) Team at Chapin Hall, under the direction of senior policy fellow Dr. John Lyons, supports policymakers and practitioners who use the TCOM framework and its suite of assessment tools. Dr. John Lyons is the primary developer of the TCOM approach and its most widely used tool, the Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths (CANS). To maintain the integrity of the TCOM approach, Dr. John Lyons founded the Praed Foundation. This non-profit organization retains the intellectual rights to the TCOM tools and hosts online training and certification at

To best support the well-being of children and families in New York, Lyons and his team collaborated with New York stakeholders to adapt the standard CANS assessment tool to support individual case planning and service system evaluation in New York – thus producing the CANS-NY. Once New York State’s Children’s Medicaid Managed Care Design endorsed the CANS-NY as the assessment tool for health homes serving children, the State identified the need for a comprehensive technical assistance institute. Chapin Hall responded to this request with a vision for a statewide learning collaborative and data feedback center.

The CANS-NY Technical Assistance Institute, led by Executive Director John Lyons, has two arms: training and implementation support facilitated by Dr. Suzanne Button (long-time New York resident) and a data feedback center run by Dr. Nate Israel.


John S. Lyons, Ph.D., the primary developer of the Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths (CANS) tool and the Transformational Collaborative Outcomes Management (TCOM) framework, will serve as lead for this project and will be the Institute’s Executive Director. Dr. Lyons is trained as a clinical psychologist and worked in community mental health centers serving children and families. This direct work with children and families continues to drive his commitment to creating and supporting collaboration within and across systems for the improved care of children and families.

Dr. Lyons has more than 35 years of training and technical assistance with statewide implementations of CANS and TCOM in 36 states and internationally. He has designed and implemented certified trainer as well as coaching and supervision programs that have certified more than 250,000 professionals in the past two decades.  In addition to Dr. Lyons’ notable experience with the CANS, he also has decades of experience with creating, leading, and sustaining collaborative processes.

Dr. Suzanne Button is a licensed clinical psychologist.  For more than twenty years, she has trained, implemented, managed and/or monitored both traditional and innovative programming in behavioral health care, social service, and educational settings in New York State and the surrounding environs. Dr. Button has served as a lead provider partner in multiple provider-university practice transformation and monitoring partnerships.  She has served on multiple New York Statewide Task Forces and Advisory Groups, including participation in  New York State Office of Mental Health’s design of the first service-wide consumer survey and indicator measurement and dissemination system between 2005 and 2009.

Dr. Nathaniel Israel has a decade of experience implementing outcomes management systems and utilizing clinical data to inform decision-making at all levels of child serving systems.  He is the developer of the Praed Foundation’s reporting standards for the CANS family of tools. These multi-level reports are now required of all electronic health record vendors looking to integrate the CANS into their electronic data capture and reporting systems. He was also instrumental in the design of the initial CANS-NY algorithm through his analyses of pilot data collected with the tool across the state.  For these analyses he developed a relational database customized to New York’s CANS tools that was used to test numerous iterations of the support intensity algorithm. This existing database will facilitate rapid report prototyping and delivery of NY CANS-specific outcome reports.

This leadership team works in close collaboration with the New York State Department of Health to guide and assist a Collaborative of four lead  provider agencies as they offer coaching, training, and technical assistance to users of the CANS-NY. Collaborative partners will establish training, coaching, and technical assistance relationships with health home care managers; each partner will provide assistance within their geographical regions of the State. The efforts of the Collaborative will be supported and guided by an Impact Board, consisting of stakeholders from key New York organizations and youth/family who have direct experience with the CANS-NY, to ensure that the Institute remains true to its mission of supporting comprehensive and integrated care for the children of New York.

Please follow these links for more information on: the Collaborative, the Data Feedback Center, and the Impact Board.