Promoting quality care for children and youth with special health care needs in Wisconsin.
To assure that children and youth with special health care needs:
- Are identified early,
- Receive high quality coordinated care, and
- Receive, with their families, the supports they need.
The Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs Program collaborates with national, state and community-based partners to link children to appropriate services, close service gaps, reduce duplication and develop policies to better serve families.
Finding Your Way: A Navigation Guide for Wisconsin Families Who Have Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs and Disabilities assists families who may have concerns or questions about their child's development or have recently received a diagnosis of a special health care need or disability. It provides brief descriptions of programs, services and systems of support and gives contact information and links to learn more about these and other resources.
English and Spanish versions of the Guide can be downloaded from the University of Wisconsin Waisman Center website:
English: A Navigation Guide for Wisconsin Families Who Have Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs and Disabilities (PDF, 10 MB)
Español: Una guía de navegación para las familias de Wisconsin con niños y jóvenes con necesidades especiales de atención de salud y discapacidades (PDF, 10.8 MB)
Who are Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs?
Children and youth with special health care needs (CYSHCN) are defined by the Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration, Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB) as:
"...those who have or are at increased risk for a chronic physical, developmental, behavioral, or emotional condition and who also require health and related services of a type or amount beyond that required by children generally."
The CYSHCN Program works to improve systems of care for anyone from birth through age 21 with a chronic physical, developmental, behavioral or emotional illness or condition. Some examples include ADHD, asthma, autism spectrum disorders, childhood cancers, cerebral palsy, deaf or blind, diabetes, Down syndrome, heart disease, and mental health conditions.
What is the impact on Wisconsin families?
Over 200,000 or 15.5% of Wisconsin children have a special health care need, of which:
- Over 1 in 6 children missed 11 or more days of school due to illness.
- Over 1 in 9 families reports spending 11 or more hours each week providing or coordinating their child's care.
- Over one third of families currently insured report their insurance is inadequate.
- Over 1 in 4 families reports spending $1,000 or more each year for out of pocket medical expenses.
Source: Child and Adolescent Health Measurement Initiative. 2009/2010 National Survey of Children with Special Health Needs, Data Resource Center for Child and Adolescent Health website.
For more Wisconsin specific data on CYSHCN, go to the Data Resource Center for Child and Adolescent Health 2009-2010 National Survey of Children with Special Health Care Needs, Wisconsin Profile.
Maternal and Child Health Bureau Core Outcomes
The Program advances the six National Performance Outcomes, strengthening:
- Parent Leadership P-00615 (PDF, 133 KB)
- Medical Home P-00615a (PDF, 283 KB)
- Health Insurance Coverage P-00615b (PDF, 114 KB)
- Screening and Identification P-00615c (PDF, 276 KB)
- Coordinated Services P-00615d (PDF, 120 KB)
- Transition to Adult Life P-00615e (PDF, 110 KB)
The Wisconsin Department of Health Services, Division of Public Health, Bureau of Community Health Promotion, Family Health Section, Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs Program is funded by the Maternal and Child Health Title V Services Block grant, Maternal and Child Health Bureau, Health Resources and Service Administration, US Department of Health and Human Services and other funding sources. For more information, visit the Maternal and Child Health Bureau website.
Wisconsin First Step
Information and links to services for children and youth with special needs, their families and providers. Call 800-642-7837 to speak with a parent specialist. Information is available on services such as Birth to 3/early intervention, financial assistance, parent networking and support, home health care, therapy services, CYSHCN Regional Centers and more.
Maternal and Child Health (MCH) Hotline
Information and links to services for pregnant and postpartum women and children. Call 800-722-2295 for information on BadgerCare Plus, WIC, HealthCheck, maternal depression, Prenatal Care Coordination, family planning, developmental screenings, and more.