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National Survey of Children with Special Health Care Needs

The National Survey of Children with Special Health Care Needs (NS-CSHCN) was conducted three times between 2001 and 2010. It was designed to take a close look at the health and functional status of children with special health care needs in the U.S.—their physical, emotional and behavioral health, along with critical information on access to quality health care, care coordination of services, access to a medical home, transition services for youth, and the impact of chronic condition(s) on the child’s family. 

The NS-CSHCN was a telephone survey led by the National Center for Health Statistics at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention under the direction and sponsorship of the federal Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB).  The survey is currently being integrated into the National Survey of Children’s Health, but will still provide the same in-depth look at the lives of children with special health care needs. See the MCHB website for more  information on the 2016 National Survey of Children's Health administration, methodology, survey content, and data availability.

Fast-track your use of NS-CSHCN data:

The Data Resource Center makes results from the NS-CSHCN easily accessible to parents, researchers, community health providers and anyone interested in maternal and child health. Data on this site are for the nation and each of the 50 states plus the District of Columbia. State and national data can be further refined to assess differences by race/ethnicity, income, type of health insurance, and a variety of other important demographic and health status characteristics.  Additional resources on how the survey was conducted can be found on the NS-CSHCN Resources for Data Analysis page.

The NS-CSHCN at a glance:

Survey Design and Sponsorship
Maternal and Child Health Bureau at the Health Resources and Services Administration in partnership with National Center for Health Statistics at the Centers for Disease Control, Child and Adolescent Health Measurement Initiative, and a National Technical Expert Panel
Data Collection National Center for Health Statistics at the Centers for Disease Control
Geographic areas Nationwide, all 50 states and the District of Columbia
2001, 2005/06, 2009/10, yearly as of 2016/17
Population sampled  Non-institutionalized children with special health care needs (CSHCN) in the US ages 0-17 years
Sample size range   Nationally: between 38,000 and 40,000  State: approximately 750
Representative  Weighted to be representative of the US population of non-institutionalized CSHCN ages 0-17
Topics  Assesses overall health and health status of CSHCN, including medical home, adequate health insurance, access to needed services, and adequate care coordination. Other topics include functional difficulties, transition services, and shared decision-making.