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Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs

Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs (CYSHCN) is a program that promotes quality care for young people in Wisconsin. The program makes sure that kids and teens with special health care needs:

  • Are identified early.
  • Receive high quality care that works together.
  • Receive the support they need with their families.

CYSHCN works with national, state, and community partners. Together, they connect youth to the right services and close service gaps. They also help avoid repeat services and set up policies that better serve families.

WCYSHCN people

CYSHCN—Promoting quality care for children and youth with special health care needs in Wisconsin.


Who is eligible

Children and youth with special health care needs include:

“...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.”

This definition comes from the Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration, Maternal and Child Health Bureau.

The CYSHCN program works to improve systems of care for anyone from birth through age 21. They must have a chronic physical, developmental, behavioral, or emotional condition, such as:

  • ADHD (Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder)
  • Asthma
  • Autism spectrum disorders
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Childhood cancers
  • Deafness or blindness
  • Diabetes
  • Down syndrome
  • Heart disease
  • Mental health conditions

CYSHCN resources

View these resources:

Impact on Wisconsin families

CYSHCN serves Wisconsin families. In Wisconsin, over 220,000 kids (about 17.5%) have special heath care needs. Of these:

  • More than 1 in 9 miss 11 or more days of school due to illness or injury.
  • More than 1 in 6 families have a family member leave a job, take a leave of absence, or reduce work hours because of their child’s health.
  • About 2 in 5 families that are currently insured have insurance that doesn’t meet their needs.
  • About 1 in 4 families spend $1,000 or more each year for out-of-pocket medical expenses.

This information comes from the Child and Adolescent Health Measurement Initiative, 2017–2018 National Survey of Children’s Health. The Data Resource Center for Child and Adolescent Health has more data on CYSHCN.

Who to contact for help

Select a link for more contact details:

  • CYSHCN contacts—Find a list of program coordinators and specialists.
  • Regional Centers for CYSHCN contacts—Find your regional center for CYSHCN. Wisconsin has five centers. They can help families get answers, find services, and connect with community resources. Their services are free and private.
  • Maternal and Child Health Bureau contacts—Get more information about CYSHCN program funding. Funds come from:
    • Maternal and Child Health Title V Services Block Grant.
    • Maternal and Child Health Bureau.
    • Health Resources and Service Administration.
    • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
    • Other funding sources.
Last revised January 13, 2023