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Child and Adolescent Health

When babies and toddlers emerge from their early childhood days and grow into children, adolescents, and young adults, the conditions in which they live, learn, work, play, worship, and age affect their lifelong health.

Many children face challenges receiving the care they need. Families and children living in poverty, in underserved or underrepresented communities, who are uninsured or those with special health care needs are more likely to experience negative health outcomes than other children.

Well visits seek to prevent and identify diseases early. However, only 2 in 5 children receive age-appropriate vaccines by their 2nd birthday.i And, 1 in 5 adolescents did not have a preventive medical visit within the past year.ii

Our approach to child & adolescent health

We identify strengths and needs early to make sure children get the services they need where they live. We work to make sure youth transition into adult care systems.

Our complementary programs promote better health outcomes by:

Improving access to quality services

  • Emphasizing prevention, screenings, referrals, and specialty services
  • Investing in health and mental health promotion and injury & violence prevention
  • Expanding school-based health and mental health services
  • Using technology to increase access to health care through telehealth
  • Facilitating children and youth’s access to health insurance
  • Ensuring access to age-appropriate safety net emergency services for children

Advancing equity

  • Providing child- and family-centered, culturally- and linguistically-appropriate, community-based services
  • Supporting the development of tools and resources to reduce disparities and to prioritize health equity for children and their families

Strengthening the Maternal and Child Health (MCH) workforce

Maximizing impact through leadership, partnership, and stewardship

  • With our committed partners, our programs improve systems of services, including for children with special health care needs.

Our investments

Through the Title V Maternal and Child Health (MCH) Block Grant, we enhance and support child health.

Specific programs strengthen:

Health promotion and health care services

Mental health promotion and services

Keeping children safe and preventing injuries

Family engagement and support systems

Gathering data and tracking progress

We gather program and national data to track progress.

Our National Survey of Children’s Health (NSCH) serves as the data source for over half of our NPMs (9 of 15) and a quarter of our NOMs (7 of 25).


i Table 6B (hrsa.gov)

ii National Survey of Children’s Health 2017

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