Skip to content
Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs (CSHCN) Program

Who are “Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs?"

DHEC services for children and youth with special health care needs are for those "who have or are at risk for chronic physical, developmental, behavioral or emotional conditions and who also require health and related services of a type or amount beyond that required by children generally." This widely accepted definition was developed by the Federal Maternal and Children Health Bureau and the American Academy of Pediatrics in collaboration with many health service providers and parents. A 2009-2010 national survey of families with children with special health care needs found that about 177,000 children in South Carolina (16%) under age 18 meet this definition.

Some of these children will only need an accurate diagnosis, routine treatment, and monitoring. However, others need life-sustaining technology, treatment, and medicines throughout their lives. Many depend on multiple health care providers, and a combination of private and public resources to pay for health services. In addition, these families must navigate multiple service systems to address special health care needs.

No matter how severe the condition or disability, almost all children with special health care needs live at home with family members and other caregivers. About one in every five U.S. households has a child with a special health care need.

For more information, email Children with Special Health Care Needs
or call us at (803) 898-0784.