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Division of Services for Children with Special Health Needs (DSCSHN)

Our division works to improve health and quality of life for children and youth with special health care needs (CYSHCN). We provide leadership and guidance to support the estimated 13.5 million children in this country with a special health care need.

How we improve the health and quality of life for CYSCHN

We help children and families, health care professionals, and public health leaders improve the system of services and supports by:

Driving systemic improvements

Framework: We created the “Blueprint for Change for Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs.”

Purpose: The Blueprint guides national efforts towards systemic change. This ensures better health outcomes for children and youth with special health care needs.

Ensuring health from the start

What we do: Through our newborn screening programs, we reach the nearly 4 million infants born each year.

Purpose: All newborns benefit from state programs we support. They screen for hearing, critical congenital heart defects (CCHD), and dozens of conditions identified through blood spots.

Supporting families

Connections: Our Family-to-Family Health Information Centers support families of children with special health care needs.

Coverage: These centers serve families in 59 states and territories, and through organizations who serve Indian tribes.

Addressing sickle cell disease

Impact: We serve nearly 1 in 4 people with sickle cell disease through our sickle cell disease programs.

Coverage: We provide grants that create regional networks of care, education, and social services across the United States.

Guiding national health policies

Leadership: We coordinate the Advisory Committee on Heritable Disorders in Newborns and Children.

Purpose: The committee advises the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). It covers universal newborn screening tests, technologies, policies, guidelines, and standards.

Programs we manage

We have two branches within our division: the Integrated Services Branch (ISB) and the Genetics Services Branch (GSB).

Integrated Services Branch

ISB oversees programs that work to promote coordinated, comprehensive, family-centered systems of services.

ISB, along with other divisions, also work on autism spectrum disorder.

Genetic Services Branch

GSB oversees programs that focus on using genetic and genomic information in clinical practice and supporting coordinated public health systems of services.

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