Minnesota Title V MCH Needs Assessment Fact Sheets

Children with Special Health Needs

Population Overview

Fall 2004

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"Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs" (CYSHCN) are defined by the Maternal and Child Health Bureau as "those children (from birth to age 21) 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 National Survey of Children with Special Health Care Needs provides state level prevalence estimates of children and youth with special health care needs under the age of 18.

There are an estimated 160,946 CYSHCN in Minnesota. That is, 12.4% of the birth-18 population is considered to have a special health care need.

One in five families with children in Minnesota has a child with special health care needs.


Percent of Population with Special Health Care Needs by Age Grouping

0 - 3 yrs old

4 - 7 yrs old

8 - 11 yrs old

12 - 14 yrs old

15 - 17 yrs old






Types of Needs

Approximately 81,000 children in Minnesota have an increased need for medical care, mental health care or educational services beyond that needed by children generally.

Almost 123,000 children need prescription medications due to a condition that has lasted or is expected to last at least one year.

An estimated 47,000 children have a special health need due to an emotional, developmental or behavioral condition that has lasted or is expected to last at least one year.

Approximately 29,000 children have a functional limitation that prevents them from doing things most other children their age are able to do.

Nearly 24,000 children in Minnesota need special therapy, such as physical, occupational or speech therapy.