How Many U.S. Kids Have Special Health Care Needs?

Posted March 31, 2018, By the Annie E. Casey Foundation

In the United States today, 14 million kids under the age of 18 have special health care needs.

In the Unit­ed States today, 14 mil­lion kids under the age of 18 have spe­cial health care needs.

Rates of iden­ti­fied chil­dren range from a low of 14% in Hawaii to a high of 25% in Kentucky.

Chil­dren with spe­cial health care needs have or are at increased risk for chron­ic phys­i­cal, devel­op­men­tal, behav­ioral, or emo­tion­al con­di­tions and also require health and relat­ed ser­vices of a type or amount beyond that required by chil­dren gen­er­al­ly,” accord­ing to the U.S. Depart­ment of Health and Social Ser­vices. Such needs are root­ed in a range of con­di­tions, such as Down syn­drome, autism, speech imped­i­ments and emo­tion­al, devel­op­men­tal or behav­ioral problems.

Rais­ing a child with spe­cial health care needs can be chal­leng­ing for par­ents. Coor­di­nat­ing care and nav­i­gat­ing health sys­tems — both of which can involve a com­pli­cat­ed net­work of doc­tors, teach­ers and com­mu­ni­ty resources — can be both time- and energy-intensive.

Access more health data on the KIDS COUNT Data Center:

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