Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs

A child holding a multi-color clay heart.

In the Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs (CYSHCN) program, we promote connected systems of care for children and youth with special care needs from birth through transition to adulthood. We work with national, state, local, and community partners to help connect CYSHCN and their families to the health and related services they need to thrive.

Our program is part of the Thriving Children and Youth unit in the Office of Family and Community Health Improvement. We are guided by the National Framework for a System of Care for Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs and the Blueprint for Change.

Who are Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs?

Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs (CYSHCN) are children and youth with diverse needs. They may have or be at increased risk for chronic physical, developmental, behavioral, or emotional conditions. Their complex needs mean many areas of their life may be impacted. The chronic physical, behavioral, or emotional conditions may include:

A common theme in a CYSHCN’s life is that their needs require different systems to work together. For example, a social worker in an ear, nose, and throat clinic might collaborate with a school audiologist to make classroom accommodations for a kindergartner with a temporary hearing difference. 

How Does the CYSHCN Program Help You Navigate Services?

Two children look at the camera while hugging. One had curly black hair and one has a bandana wrapped around her head.

We partner with local CYSHCN Coordinators to advocate for families. The coordinators help connect families to the resources and care services they need and support the development of systems of care for CYSHCN in their local communities.

We also support local contractors to help families with resources. The contractors help link families to community services like family support, care coordination, and health information. You can find information about how to get connected with services on our partners webpage

Find Your Local Coordinator (PDF)

Download or Print CYSHCN Brochures (Available in PDFs)

First page of the CYSHCN brochure