Children and Youth with Special Health Needs (CYSHN)
Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB)
Concept and Principles of Family-Centered Care:
- Letter of Introduction from Dr. Merle McPherson, Director of the MCHB Division of Services for Children with Special Health Care Needs
DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH & HUMAN SERVICES
Health Resources and Services Administration
Rockville, Maryland 20857
July 17, 2005
The Division of Services for Children with Special Health Care Needs knows that children with special health care needs and their families are better served and their health outcomes improved when family-centered care is the standard. Over the years the Division has supported many projects and initiatives that focus on understanding and implementing family-centered care in policy and practice for children with special health care needs and their families.
Two years ago, we asked Polly Arango, Dr. Kathleen Kirk Bishop, and Josie Woll to assess the status of family-centered care and to provide recommendations to the Division for advancing its implementation. They searched the literature, assessed materials and projects from around the country, exchanged ideas, and discussed issues around family-centered care with the assistance of hundreds of families and professionals. During the last 12 months, they held a series of small working meetings with family-centered care experts to further distill the substance, history, implementation, challenges, and principles of family-centered care and to make recommendations for action.
Among the recommendations: refine a definition of family-centered care that is based on more than 20 years of family and professional dialogue, experience, and inspiration. This definition will guide and assist you to infuse professional practice, heighten family expectations, and withstand the test of time and changing environments.
Your expertise and participation in family-centered care activities and discussions over the decades, especially during this year’s family-centered care meetings, were critical to the development of this important definition. Thank you for your commitment and your contributions to family-centered care. Please see the following new definition and principles of family-centered care and the explanation of how cultural competence should be integrated throughout your work with family-centered care.