Who we serve
The Division for Children & Youth with Special Health Needs at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health works with families, providers, and others to support children and youth with special health needs ages birth to 22 and their families. This includes children and youth with chronic medical, physical, developmental, behavioral or emotional conditions.
Who are “children and youth with special health care needs?”
As defined by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Maternal and Child Health Bureau: “Children with special health care needs are 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.” (McPherson M, Arango P, Fox HB, A new definition of children with special health care needs. Pediatrics 1998; 102:137-140)
The National Survey of Children with Special Health Care Needs in 2009-2010 estimated that 18.3% of children under age 18 in MA (approximately 261,475 children) meet the above definition, excluding those children “at risk.” It is estimated that there are approximately 11.2 million children who meet this definition nationally.
Download a brochure
Division for Children & Youth with Special Health Needs Brochure in multiple languages: