Children & Youth with Special Health Care Needs (CYSHCN) are those who have or are at increased risk for a chronic physical, developmental, behavioral or emotional condition and require health and related services beyond that required for children in general.

To learn more about services available for CYSHCN, call 211 Child Development at 1-800-505-7000.

A care coordinator from 211 CD works with each family to identify their needs and the community resources that can help their child and family. Through the CYSHCN Medical Home Initiative, a family may be able to access a variety of resources including family support, educational support, respite, coordination of medical care and help with transition services.

Care coordinators work closely with staff at regional medical home initiative sites, the Family Support Network, the Connecticut Medical Home Initiative at FAVOR and other community providers to ensure the child and family’s needs are being met.

To learn more about the Medical Home Initiative for CYSHCN, go to the Department of Public Health Website at:

Questions you may have:

What is a medical home?

A medical home is not a building, house or hospital, but rather an approach to providing health care services in a high-quality and cost-effective manner. Children and their families who have a medical home receive the care that they need from a pediatrician or pediatric health care professional who they know and trust. The professionals and families act as partners in a medical home to identify and access all the medical and non-medical services needed to help children and their families achieve their maximum potential.

Directions:  Resources for your child’s care: Connecticut Edition

Directions is a guide to help you plan and coordinate care for your child or adolescent with special health care needs.   In Directions you will find:  ways to organize your child’s health information; information about caring for your child’s special needs; resources; and tips from other parents of children with special health care needs.

Directions: Resources for Your Child’s Care – English

Directions: Resources for Your Child’s Care – Spanish

Directions: Resources for Your Child’s Care – Portuguese

What kind of respite support can I receive?

Respite is planned or emergency temporary relief that can be offered once or multiple times to family caregivers who are caring for individuals with special needs such as a disability or chronic or terminal illness. By enrolling in the CYSHCN program, a family can receive up $500 per family per year for respite funds, including camp, within the availability of funds. Get Creative About Respite Guide  

The Get Creative About Respite Guide provides a way for you, as a family member or other caregiver, to communicate with the people who provide respite care for the child or adolescent in your life who has special needs.

Respite: A Parent’s Guide

Respite: A Child/Adolescent Guide for Families and Caregivers

What is transition?

Youth with special health care needs have additional concerns to address as they make plans to transition to adult life. Transitions/changes are a part of life, it begins when you are born and continues throughout your life. Part of the transition process is to increase your functioning throughout life by providing you with the best health care services to help you gain independence. A medical home can help you throughout life’s transition process. You, your family and health care professionals work together in a medical home to identify and make contact with all the medical and non-medical services needed to make your daily life easier for you and your family.

Youth with special health care needs are neither CHILDREN nor ADULTS.

Their issues and concerns are similar, but different from both. This pivotal time called youth should be a time in which the total environment supports the child in becoming an adult. The support should encourage the aspirations and expectations that lead to a productive adulthood.


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