Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs (CYSHCN) Program

The Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs Program seeks to improve the system of care for children and youth with special health care needs from birth and up to 21 years of age and their families. The Program helps to shape public policy so families can get the best health care for their children.

Children served by the CYSHCN Program have an illness or condition for which they need extra health care and support services. These children might have a serious or long-lasting:

  • Physical condition,
  • Intellectual or developmental disability, and/or
  • Behavioral or emotional condition.

Conditions include but not limited to ADD or ADHD, allergies, anxiety, arthritis/joint problems, asthma, autism or autism spectrum disorder, behavioral/conduct problem, blood disorders, Cerebral Palsy, Cystic Fibrosis, depression, developmental delay, diabetes, Down syndrome, epilepsy/seizure disorder, genetic or inherited condition, head injury, hearing problem, heart problem, intellectual disability, learning difficulty, migraines, other mental health condition, muscular dystrophy, sickle cell anemia, speech or language disorder, substance use disorder, Tourette syndrome, and vision problem. The program is not limited to these conditions.

New York State also provides financial supports and technical assistance to programs in most counties in the state that help families of CYSHCN by giving them information on health insurance and connecting them with health care providers. These programs will also work with families to help them meet the medical and non-medical needs of their children. For a full list of counties,visit LHD contact information.

The CYSHCN Program also has a financial component, the Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs Support Services (CYSHCNSS), formerly known as Physically Handicapped Children's Program. The CYSHCNSS assists families in paying medical bills for children with severe chronic illnesses and/or physical disabilities, between birth and up to 21 years of age, who live in New York State and meet county's medical and financial eligibility criteria. For more information, go to CYSHCNSS.

NYSDOH contracts with three HRSA-designated University Centers for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDDs), also known as Regional Support Centers (RSCs). RSCs provide technical assistance, training, mentorship and coaching to improve Local Health Department’s ability to support families with CYSHCN and engage with CYSHCN families to continue to assess and support their needs. The three RSCs are geographically distributed to provide support statewide. For more information, go to Regional Support Centers.

Growing Up Healthy Hotline

You can call the Growing Up Healthy Hotline to learn about resources for health care, immunizations, nutrition and other health and human services. The hotline provides information and referrals 24 hours/day, seven days a week in English, Spanish and other languages. Call 1-800-522-5006, or through TTY 1-800-655-1789.

New York State Multiple Systems Navigator (MSN)

You can visit Multiple Systems Navigator Website for information on health, education, human services and disabilities. The information is provided for youths, parents, family members and caregivers that rely on services and supports from child and family service systems. This website was developed by the Council on Children and Families and funded by the Developmental Disabilities Planning Council (DDPC).

HEARS Family Line

The Office of Children and Family Services- Help, Empower, Advocate, Reassure and Support (HEARS) family line supports parents and families by providing resources and referrals to a variety of services. Caring representatives guide families to services including food, clothing, housing, medical and behavioral health care services, parenting education and child care. Representatives are available at 1-888-55HEARS (1-888-554-3277) Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Please visit

New York State Parent Guide

For information on the NYS Parent Guide please visit This is your Guide, the story of the first five years of your parenting journey. Whether you are the mother or father (through birth, adoption, or foster care), a grandparent, partner, family friend, aunt or uncle with parenting responsibilities, what you say and do in your role as a parent matters.

New York State Parent Portal

For information on the NYS Parent Portal please visit This online resource for mothers or fathers (through birth, adoption, or foster care), grandparents, partners, family friends, aunts or uncles includes information about the first 5 years of a baby’s life, where you can find child care and family support and understanding how to access services.

The CYSHCN program is administered by the Bureau of Child Health in the Division of Family Health. For questions, contact the Bureau of Child Health at (518) 474-1961 or