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Children and youth with special health care needs (CYSHCN) have chronic, often complex, conditions that require care by pediatric specialists. Unfortunately, there is a shortage of these physicians nationwide and particularly in California. A recent survey of groups of California pediatricians (Access to Pediatric Specialty Care in California: Results of the Children’s Specialty Care Coalition 2022 Member Survey) showed that wait times for new, non‐urgent appointments with pediatric specialists can be many months, resulting in delayed care for CYSHCN.

How do these delays affect children, youth, and their families? This fact sheet summarizes the results of a survey of nearly 650 caregivers of CYSHCN about their experiences trying to access pediatric specialty care in California. The voices of these caregivers provide crucial insight into the challenges they face and a fuller picture of:

  • Wait times for pediatric specialty care
  • Effects of delays in care for CYSHCN and their families
  • Policy implications for California and beyond