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Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs (CYSHCN)

The CYSHCN program is within the Section Women’s Children’s and Family Health (WCFH) in the Division of Public Health, Department of Health and Social Services. At the state level, the program collaborates with families, policy makers, health care providers, agencies, and other public-private leaders to identify and improve health system issues that impact children and families. At the local level the program supports partners to help families with resources and linkages to community services including family support, care coordination, and health information (Ex: Stone Soup Group, Alaska Center for Pediatrics​Early Childhood Comprehensive Systems Program).

As a Title V Agency, WCFH has adopted National Performance Measure #11 ( Percent of children with and without special health care needs having a medical home.)

You can read more about our five year plan to improve access to medical homes  in our Executive Summary of the Title V Maternal Child Health Block Grant in the Five Year Action Plan table under the CYSHCN population.

Who are children and youth with special health care needs?

The federal Maternal and Child Health Bureau defines children with special health care needs as: “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 of amount beyond that required by children generally” (Department of Health and Human Services, 2012).

This definition can include physical conditions, such as sickle cell disease or asthma. It also includes children with disabilities such as cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, autism, or children who are technology dependent.

Approximately 10.2 million children in the U.S. – 15 percent of all people under the age of 18 – have special healthcare needs.

More than a fifth of U.S. households with children have at least one child with special needs.

There are an estimated 20,000 children in Alaska with special health care needs.

Alaska's CYSHCN State Plan

The State of Alaska collaborated with families and a broad stakeholder group to create a five year CYSHCN Alaska State Plan. Find the full report and a summary document below.  

Ongoing Activities

Education and Professional Development

Medical Home Practice Development

Patient Centered Medical Home Advisory Work Group

We are always looking to partner with families of CYSHCN to guide our work. If you would like to participate in our workgroup related to any of our activities, please contact