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Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs

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NEW! A new series of Promising Practices includes:


Data Vignettes
are designed to put faces and names to data from the National Survey of Children with Special Health Care Needs.

Who Are Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs?

Children and youth with special health care needs (CYSHCN) are children and youth with special health care needs as those who have or are at increased risk for chronic physical, developmental, behavioral, or emotional conditions and who require health and related services of a type or amount beyond that required by children generally. (Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB), Health Resources and Services Administration, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.) This group of children includes those with or at increased risk for chronic physical illnesses and disabilities, developmental disabilities and emotional and behavioral disorders.

Creating a System of Care

The Maternal and Child Health Bureau established Six Core Outcomes to create an effective, family-centered, integrated system of services and supports for children and youth with special health care needs and their families. The National Center for Cultural Competence (NCCC) is funded by MCHB to support the design, implementation, and evaluation of culturally and linguistically competent approaches to achieve the Six Core Outcomes. The NCCC provides an array of training, consultation, and technical assistance to state Title V Maternal and Child Health-Children with Special Health Care Needs programs, family support and advocacy organizations, and other agencies and providers.

Six Core Outcomes and Cultural and Linguistic Competence

CYSHCN imageAchieving each of the Six Core Outcomes for all children and youth with special health care needs and their families will require addressing cultural and linguistic competence in creating systems of services and supports. Click on each outcome in the list below to learn more about cultural and linguistic competence in achieving these outcomes. Each section contains a description of the role of cultural and linguistic competence in achieving the outcome; evidence related to the issues, resources, and references used in developing the section.

  1. Families of children with special health care needs will partner in decision making at all levels, and will be satisfied with the services they receive.
  2. All children with special health care needs will receive coordinated ongoing comprehensive care within a medical home.
  3. All families of children with special health care needs will have adequate private and/or public insurance to pay for the services they need.
  4. All children will be screened early and continuously for special health care needs.
  5. Services for children with special health care needs and their families will be organized in ways that families can use them easily.
  6. All youth with special health care needs will receive the services necessary to make appropriate transitions to adult health care, work, and independence.

What is My Role?

Creating effective, culturally and linguistically competent systems of services and supports for CYSHCN and their families requires extensive collaboration. NCCC offers resources for the range of partners to address cultural and linguistic competence:

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