The physical and emotional health of parents can affect their ability to care for their children and can influence the health and well-being of the family as a whole. Among children who live with their mothers, 47.8 percent of CSHCN and 59.0 percent of non-CSHCN have mothers who are in excellent or very good physical and mental health, regardless of the mother's marital status. This discrepancy between children with and without special health care needs was evident in fathers' health as well, if not as pronounced: of children who live with their fathers, 58.2 percent of CSHCN and 63.7 percent of non-CSHCN had fathers whose physical and mental health was rated as “excellent” or “very good.” These differences in parental health remained present even after statistical adjustment for other differences between CSHCN and non-CSHCN.
The percentage of CSHCN whose mothers are in excellent or very good health ranged across states from 35.5 percent to 60.9 percent; for fathers, state-level percentages ranged from 47.8 percent to 68.8 percent.
Both parental health estimates for CSHCN have declined since 2003, when 56.5 percent of CSHCN had mothers and 61.2 percent had fathers who were reported to be in excellent or very good health.
CSHCN with more complex service needs are less likely to have parents whose health is reported to be excellent or very good. Of children with more complex service needs, 42.0 percent lived with mothers whose health was excellent or very good and 54.6 lived with fathers whose health met this standard.
The percentage of CSHCN in the lowest-income households are least likely to have parents who are in excellent or very good health. Of CSHCN with household incomes below the Federal poverty level (FPL), 24.1 percent have mothers and 33.7 percent have fathers who are in excellent or very good health. In contrast, among CSHCN with household incomes of 400 percent or more of FPL, twice as many have mothers (67.1 percent) or fathers (67.8 percent) in excellent or very good health. A similar income disparity is evident among children without special health care needs.
The parents of CSHCN age 2-17 with emotional, behavioral, or developmental (EBD) conditions are less likely than parents of other CSHCN to be in excellent or very good health. The mothers of 38.5 percent of CSHCN with EBD conditions and the fathers of 51.2 percent, were in excellent or very good health. In contrast, the mothers of 54.0 percent of CSHCN without EBD conditions and the fathers of 61.5 percent of CSHCN without EBD conditions were in excellent or very good health.
Endnotes here if applicable