Individuals with Special Health Care Needs

Individuals with Special Health Care Needs

Does your child have a chronic illness, disabling condition, or developmental delay? If so, we can see if your child qualifies to get the special healthcare services he or she needs. We may be able to help you pay for certain services. Your child must be under 18 years of age to apply. Below, you can see some of the programs we offer.

Who are Children with Special Healthcare Needs?

DHEC serves "children and youth who have or are at risk for chronic physical, developmental, behavioral or emotional conditions and who also require health and related services of a type or amount beyond that required by children generally." This widely accepted definition was developed by the national Maternal and Children Health Bureau and the American Academy of Pediatrics in collaboration with many health service providers and parents. A 2019-2020 national survey of families with children with special health care needs found that over 200,000 children in South Carolina (16%) under age 18 meet this definition.

DHEC services are available to children and youth up to age 21 with one or more of a wide range of medical conditions or disabilities that have lasted or are expected to last for 12 months or more. Services include: information and referral, care coordination and financial assistance with payment for medical services, supplies, and equipment.

Some of these children need only an accurate diagnosis and routine treatment and monitoring. But others need life-sustaining technology, treatment, and medicines throughout their lives. Many depend on multiple health care providers and a combination of private and public health care financing and health care systems. Almost all children with special health care needs, no matter the severity of their condition, live at home with their parents, brothers, and sisters. About 1 in 5 U.S. households has a child with a special health care need.

The Impact of Oral Health and the Individual with Special Health Care Needs

Common oral health problems can affect all individuals; however, these problems can present particularly difficult challenges to individuals with special health care needs. Certain conditions may make it more difficult to keep the oral cavity clean and healthy. Tooth decay is the number one unmet need of children with special health care needs.

For more information, email the Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs (CYSHCN) Program.

DHEC provides some financial assistance to help children with special health care needs, including payment for medical services, supplies, equipment, and prescription medications.

Learn how DHEC's Financial Assistance Program can help you.

Camp Burnt Gin is a summer camp in Wedgefield, South Carolina, for children who have physical disabilities and chronic illnesses.

Check out CBG's webpage to try out a virtual camp activity and to learn more about the overnight experience.

DHEC's Children's Rehabilitative Services (CRS) provides financial assistance to families of children under age 18 with one or more of a wide array of chronic illnesses and disabling conditions.

More information on eligibility, offered services, and the application process can be found on the CRS webpage.

DHEC's Hearing Program pays for hearing aids and supplies for eligible children and youth with hearing impairment diagnosed by a licensed audiologist.

More information on this program is available here.

DHEC's Sickle Cell Program helps people who have sickle cell disease pay for medical services, supplies, equipment, and medications.

Click here for additional information about this program.

Nutritional preparations recommended by licensed dieticians are provided under this program to children and youth with selected medical conditions.

Learn more about DHEC's Formula Program here.

The purpose of this state-funded program is purchase of blood products for persons with hemophilia or other congenital blood clotting disorders.

More information about this program is available here.

Learn about these other South Carolina services and resources outside of DHEC.