Family Needs & Strengths (FANS)

  The Family Needs & Strengths (FANS) assessment and outcome tool for Family Peer Support is derived from the Child Needs & Strengths (CANS), developed by Dr. John Lyons.  Seeing the need for a Family Peer Support Services assessment and outcome tool was developed in partnership with New York State Western Region Family Peer Support Services Program Directors, Dr. Lyons, and strongly encouraged and endorsed by New York State Office of Mental Health.

Family Peer Advocates engage with parent/caregivers as partners in a journey towards empowerment by identifying areas where the parent/caregiver has skills and strengths and yet continues to have some needs and understanding for support, information, and knowledge with and about services in the child serving systems.  FANS creates an opportunity for parent/caregiver to develop focused priorities and goals for themselves that will in turn support their child or youth to be successful in their home, school and community.

FANS identifies strengths and needs in the following areas; self-care, knowledge and skill development, self-efficacy, engagement, and parent voice, service access, and ownership of success by creating a shared working partnership with the Family Peer Advocate.

The Office of Mental health supports the use and reporting of FANS data to the CAIRS system to ensure FANS is used to inform the child service systems to ensure the systems remain responsive to meet the current needs of families.

FANS Basic (full two days) is an initial training for a Family Peer Advocate to complete before using in their work with families.

Re-certification (full 1 day) occurs yearly.  Your FANS Certificate lists your expiration date.  It is up to individual advocates to complete a re-certification training prior to expiration.  You may attend any location and date that works best with your schedule.  If you fail to re-certify you cannot use the FANS tool.


 ***Modified FANS Basic Training Process During NYS During COVID-19***

Families Together in NYS recognizes the challenges Family Peer Support programs and Family Peer Advocates have to access the in-person FANS Basic Training during COVID-19.  We understand the importance of keeping staff trained in FANS and serving families.  To that end, we have been working diligently to develop a web based abbreviated FANS basic that will allow FPAs to be certified to use the tool for the duration of the New York State on PAUSE  executive order.

The following is what we propose:

  • Web-based FANS Basic Training which will consist of three – 1 ½ hour sessions with homework after each session.
  • A passing grade on the test of 75% or more is required to continue on with the class.
  • Participation in a four hour in-person follow-up training to be scheduled when we’re able to meet in-person again.

If you are interested in participating in the above abbreviated FANS Basic Training and want to be on the registration interest list, contact Laurie Rivera at  We will contact you once we have details in place.

 FANS Technical Assistance

Do you have questions, are you struggling, or do you want support with the test? Please join our FANS technical assistance office hours for first-time FPA certification and annual re-certification.

Office Hours via Zoom Call
10:00 AM – 11:00 AM

 June 17th  pre-registration is required by June 15th
July 15th  pre- registration is required by July 13th
August 19th  pre-registration is required by August 17th
September 16th  pre-registration is required by September 14th

Registration:  Email Laurie Rivera at
Questions: Call Nancy Craig at 716-432-6238

For general information about FANS contact:

Nancy Craig
Phone: 716-432-6238

For training needs please contact your Regional Parent Advisors.