Skip to content

Children with Special Health Care Needs Children's Health Assessment Survey (CHAS)

Chas LogoThe Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB) defines Children with Special Health Care Needs (CSHCN) 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 MCHB definition is broad and comprehensive and includes characteristics for a wide range of diagnoses and conditions. Health care needs may be physical, developmental, behavioral or emotional and may manifest in children of any age. Examples of the most common conditions of CSHCN consist of allergies, asthma, Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)/Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), depression/anxiety, mental retardation and autism. CSHCN are often diagnosed with more than one condition, and frequently experience several functional difficulties, including respiratory problems, learning or behavior problems, difficulty with gross or fine motor skills, chronic pain or difficulty in making and keeping friends.

To identify CSHCN, SC CHAS uses a non-condition specific screening tool based on parental report. SC CHAS survey questions are similar to items included on the National Survey of Children's Health, and focus on the health consequences a child experiences as a result of having an enduring chronic health condition rather than on a specific diagnosis, thus allowing for a more comprehensive assessment.