Announcing CARS-5

We are excited to announce the upcoming release of the latest version of CARS, CARS-5! After two years of hard work, we have modified CARS to better reflect current diagnostic criteria for mental health disorders. We have also added and expanded modules, and improved user and security features. Here are a few important notes about the CARS-5 release:

Data Backup and Restoration

CARS-5 is not backward compatible with prior versions of CARS. Once you update, you will not be able to access earlier versions of CARS or sessions generated prior to the update. If you are using another earlier version of CARS, you will need to generate all of the reports you want to save before upgrading to CARS-5. In the coming weeks, we will post content on our website to help you navigate the transition to CARS-5.

Updating Your Referrals

There is one thing you can do now to prepare to upgrade to CARS-5. Because CARS-5 is not backward compatible, you will not be able to reload your referrals from your current version of CARS. To restore your referrals, you have two options:

Option 1: Re-enter all referral resources manually once you have updated to CARS-5.

Option 2: Send us your referral resources by February 7th. We will integrate your referral data into the referral database that will be released as part of CARS-5, and you will not need to re-enter them. To send us your referral resources:

  1. Log into your current installation of CARS as the administrator, then select Reports > Generate dump referral database. This will generate a PDF with all referrals in your copy of CARS. (You can find the PDF in your Documents folder under “CARSReports”.)
  2. Email that PDF to with the subject line “CARS Referrals for Import to CARS-5.” We will confirm receipt of your email and notify you when your referrals are integrated into the database.

Contributing to Our Data Repository

We would also like to let you know about an opportunity. We plan to host a secure, de-identified data repository on our website. This will be a data set of CARS data generated from sites and programs across the country. There will be no identifying information in this data set. The only location level data will be state, rural / suburban / urban, and classification of the site/program (e.g., drug court, probation, outpatient). CARS already has a feature that allows for the creation of an encrypted data file that can then be sent to the data repository. The data file creation process automatically removes individual names and birthdates from the data.

If you are interested in contributing to the data repository, we ask that you create this file before you upgrade to CARS-5. (Creating this file does not automatically transfer it to the data repository; you can decide later whether to send it.) Here’s how:

  1. Log into your current installation of CARS as the administrator, then select Administrator > Transfer CARS Tool Data. (If it indicates there are no data files to transfer, click “OK”.) This will generate an encrypted data file in CARS\bin\cars\carsData called “carsdata_[date&time].dat”.
  2. Move that file to a separate folder not in the CARS directory prior to upgrading to CARS-5 so it won’t be overwritten.
  3. Email us at to learn more about the data repository.

Thank you for using CARS. We will email you as soon as CARS-5 is available for download. We are committed to providing free, accessible, accurate mental health assessment, and we appreciate your support.

– The CARS Team