Adopted Children with Special Health Care Needs: Characteristics, Health, and Health Care by Adoption Type. Children with Special Health Care Needs


Children with special health care needs are defined by MCHB as those who (1) have or are at risk of a physical, developmental, behavioral or emotional condition and (2) require health or related services of a type or amount beyond that required by children generally (McPherson, 1998).  The CSHCN Screener was developed to identify CSHCN as defined by MCHB (Bethell, 2002).  To qualify as having special health care needs, a child must currently experience one or more of five health consequences attributable to a medical, behavioral, or other health condition that has lasted or is expected to last for at least 12 months.  These consequences include:

1) ongoing limitations in the ability to perform activities that other children of the same age can perform; 2) ongoing need for prescription medications; 3) ongoing need for specialized therapies; 4) ongoing need for more medical, mental health, or educational services than are usual for most children of the same age; and 5) the presence of ongoing behavioral, emotional or developmental conditions requiring treatment or counseling (Bethell, 2002; Blumberg et al., 2008).

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