Title V of the Social Security Act of 1935 established the nation's first categorical health care program for children: the Crippled Children's Service. In 1985, federal legislation changed the name of the Crippled Children's Service to the Program for Children With Special Health Care Needs. Four years later, new amendments to Title V dramatically altered the Program's mission. States are now required to spend 30% of the funds from the Maternal and Child Health Services block grant on children with special health care needs and to take specific steps toward improving the service system for these children and their families. The new mandate is the only current foundation of a national health policy for children with special health care needs. The 1989 law substantially broadens the mission of the state programs and explicitly recognizes that all children with a special health care need should have access to an appropriate, community-based system of care monitored by state Children with Special Health Care Needs agencies. In addition, states are now required to conduct needs assessments pertaining to these children, to foster local systems of care, and to ensure a high quality of community-based services. Understanding the implications of the new amendments is essential because pediatricians and other child health care professionals have key roles to play in implementing these new policies.
- Copyright © 1992 by the American Academy of Pediatrics