Children and Youth with Special Health Needs
Children and Youth with Special Health Needs (CYSHN) is a state health department program accountable for the successful performance of core public health functions on behalf of children and youth with special health needs, their families and communities.
Children and youth with special health needs (CYSHN) are those who have (or who 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 generally required.
Estimates of children with special health needs in Minnesota range from a minimum of 160,000 up to 200,000. One in every five Minnesota families with children has at least one child with a special health need.
The vision of CYSHN is "Ongoing Improvement of Community-Based Systems Serving CYSHCN and Their Families." CYSHN provides state-level leadership in partnership with families and other stakeholders to achieve this vision through emphasis on, and expertise with, Quality Improvement concepts and techniques that focus on the following six national priorities for children and youth with special health care needs.
- Parent partnerships in decision making and family-centered care
- Access to enhanced primary care within a medical home
- Access to adequate funding for health care
- Early and continuous screening to detect and address health and developmental conditions as early as possible
- Well organized, community-based systems
- Transition to adult health care, work and independence
Information, Referral and Follow-up
Connecting children and families with necessary services and resources is an essential public health service provided by CYSHN. Activities include:
- Resource links for children with special health needs.
- Providing health information and information about specialized services to families of children with, or at risk for, chronic illnesses and disabilities.
- Follow-Up linking families with resources and services whose infants have been diagnosed with metabolic or endocrine disorders, infants with confirmed hearing loss and infants identified with a birth defect through the Birth Defects Information System (BDIS).
Addressing the needs of children with chronic illnesses and disabilities can be an overwhelming challenge for families, professionals and communities. CYSHN provides:
- Technical assistance and resources for primary care professionals through efforts such as CYSHN's health care home (formerly known as medical home) initiatives and trainings for mental health professionals.
Screening and Early Identification
Identifying chronic illness and potentially disabling conditions early in life promotes positive long-term outcomes. CYSHN activities include:
- Technical assistance to local agencies implementing the Infant Follow Along Program for children birth to age three.
- CYSHN and its local public health partners are responsible for locating children who may benefit from early intervention services.
Monitoring Health and Well-being
CYSHN is responsible for monitoring and reporting the health and well-being of children and youth with special health needs. Particular attention is paid to:
- Demographics and types of conditions
- Service use and need
- Financing health services
- Quality of service delivery
- Differences and similarities compared to same aged peers
Community partnerships are essential if services and systems are to achieve intended outcomes.
- CYSHN staff provide specialized consultation and support to enhance positive outcomes for children/youth with special health needs and their families.
Systems and services designed to meet the needs of children and families, must consider the needs of children with chronic illnesses and disabilities. CYSHN staff:
- Engage in the development, coordination and support of state and local systems for children with special health needs including Minnesota's Interagency Early Intervention System (Part C) and Minnesota's System of Interagency Coordination (MNSIC).
- Serve in an advisory capacity to a variety of policy-making bodies to assure the interests of children with special health needs are considered.
- Have engaged in the Health Care Home Initiative in Minnesota.