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National Standards for Improving Quality Systems of Care for Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs, Phase V

Organization: National Academy for State Health Policy

Primary Contact: Karen VanLandeghem

Grant Amount: $165,338 for 18 months

Date Awarded:


In the past, the health care needs of children with chronic and complex conditions have been met variously in terms of access and quality, and their increased dependence on managed care organizations has not assuaged that problem.  The development and use of national consensus standards for systems serving these children has been a positive step toward improving system performance and child health outcomes.  Many state Medicaid and Title V programs have employed these standards in planning, monitoring and improving health care services.  This project continues the work of disseminating the standards and facilitating their adoption.


A variety of methods were used to disseminate the National Standards and facilitate their use in state Medicaid and Title V programs, as well as in managed care organizations and other health systems. NASHP staff convened a Dissemination Advisory Committee to ensure that the tools developed and the dissemination efforts were successful. Tools developed include an interactive 50-state map that details how states have implemented and used the National Standards; sample Medicaid managed care contract language that incorporates the Standards; one-pagers on key domains of the Standards; and a national webinar highlighting examples of states’ use of the Standards. In addition, several blog posts described how the Standards can be applied to a range of issues, including posts on how to ensure that systems of care can support children with special health care needs during the pandemic, and how states can develop strategies to improve school-based mental health services for children. As a result of the ongoing efforts to support implementation of the Standards, the Standards are now integrated into Medicaid and/or Title V MCH Block Grant programs in 45 of the 50 states in the US.

Related Resources

A set of one-pagers that highlight the five most utilized National Standards for Systems of Care for Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs (CYSHCN) domains. Each overview defines the core component within the system of care, provides relevant quality measures, and examples of state implementation.