Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs

Clark County promotes a system of care where children and youth with special health care needs (CYSHCN) and their families belong, participate, and thrive in communities with integrated, accessible systems that equitably support their physical and mental health, development, social and emotional well-being.

Children and youth with special health care needs are defined as those who have or are at increased risk for a chronic physical, developmental, behavioral, or emotional condition and who also require health and related services of a type or amount beyond that required by children generally.

By collaborating with local medical providers, health plans, early intervention agencies, schools, families, and other stakeholders in the community, Clark County works to ensure equitable access to high-quality services and supports.  CYSHCN program offers guidance in linking children birth to 18 years old to community resources in order to address and support their unique nutritional, developmental, and behavioral needs.

Boy riding horse for hippotherapy

Medical home and care coordination

The medical home is a model of primary care that provides comprehensive, high-quality, wraparound services.  Medical homes are made up of a multidisciplinary team of primary care professionals, case managers, patient navigators, and others involved in the care and well-being of a child with complex needs.  The medical home model reduces the burden of families by managing the coordination of care and services of CYSHCN.

Care coordination helps ensure your child and family is linked with services and resources that will best support your child's health and development.  The medical home primary care provider has the important role of keeping track of all services a child is receiving, acting as a "central bank" for all health-related records. 

Care coordination is sometimes offered by a family resource coordinator, developmental disabilities case manager, mental health provider, or a school nurse.  Talk to your child's primary care provider about care coordination needs. 

Little girl with parents, down syndrome

Parents and caregivers

As a parent or caregiver of a child with special health care needs, finding the supports and resources your family needs can be challenging.  Provided below are topics of interest that may help you with:

988 crisis hotline
Crisis Lifeline
  • Basic needs such as food, housing and childcare
  • Behavioral and/or mental health therapy programs
  • Medical and dental coverage for your family
  • Early intervention and school-based services
  • Other community resources and information for you or your child

Providers and other professionals

As a provider working with children who have health complexities, knowing what is available and linking families to services is part of the care coordination.   Below are common services that can help address identified needs for children and their families.  

Medical and developmental resources


Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is the practice of applying the psychological principles of learning theory in a systematic way to modify behavior. The practice is used most extensively in special education and the treatment of autism spectrum disorder (ASD)

ASD evaluation provider list and Medicaid coverage for ABA therapy:

ABA therapy providers:

Other autism resources in Washington State:


Autism Empowerment w/Spectrum Magazine and Zoom

Parents and caregivers in Clark County have options when it comes to finding behavioral health counseling for their child.  Work with your primary care provider for referrals to these services to address the identified needs of your child.  Behavioral health services can be self-referred, check with your insurance on what is covered under your policy.  Below are some agencies that work with children in our community:

March 15, 2021, Governor Jay Inslee signed an emergency proclamation recognizing the current mental and behavioral health emergency among Washington’s children and youth.

Kid's Mental Health Washington -- The Youth Regional Behavioral Health Navigation teams will focus on improved collaborative communication, service connection processes, and the deployment of Multidisciplinary Teams (MDT), all of which are designed to improve access to and the coordination of services for children and youth experiencing behavioral health challenges. Requests for support for young people needing intensive services will be prioritized by the Navigation teams.

Office of Behavorial Health Advocacy | OBHA -- Support individuals and their families who are being served and supported in the Washington State behavioral health system. OBHA uses a trauma-informed approach to enhance behavioral health awareness, promote self-empowerment, and increase access to services. We assist individuals, families, and communities across WA State with behavioral health needs and concerns.

Children's Long-Term Inpatient Program (CLIP) -- Is the most intensive inpatient psychiatric treatment available to WA State residents, serving youth, ages 5-17 years of age. There are four programs and a total of 94 beds across Washington State. The programs are located in a secure and highly structured setting designed to assess, treat and stabilize youth diagnosed with psychiatric and behavioral disorders. Individualized treatment is provided through the use of evidenced based practices designed to increase the youth's skills and adaptive functioning with a focus on reintegration back into a community setting, as quickly as possible.


With proper oral health care, parents can ensure their children have a healthy smile and lower the risk of dental disease as they get older.  The Access to Baby & Child Dentistry (ABCD) program connects preventive dental care for children from birth up to age 6 who have Washington Apple Health (Medicaid) insurance. The ABCD program has expanded to include eligible children ages 6-13 with a Developmental Disabilities Administration indicator (DDA) which means that the patient has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity.

The ABCD program coordinator is available to assist parents with finding a child-friendly dentist and encourages the first dental visit by age 1. 

For oral health tips and information on healthy snacks and fluoride in your area, visit the ABCD webpage.  For help in finding low-cost dental care providers who offer low or reduced fees based on income go to Clark County Dental Resources brochure.  


Early screening and intervention is key in helping your child reach their maximum potential.  If you have concerns about your child's development at any age, contact your child's health care provider or the lead agency for Clark County - ESD 112 Early Support for Infants and Toddlers (ESIT) program.

  • CDC MILESTONES - Learn the signs and act early
  • EOCF - Providing high-quality early childhood education though preschool, childcare and family services at no cost to eligible families across Clark County, Woodland and Long Beach. - 360.567.2720
  • ESD 112 Developmental screenings  Children are screened in the areas of motor, concepts, speech and language. A hearing and vision screening may also be done. - 360.952.3466
  • Innovative Services NW -- Children in our Early Intervention Program receive treatment from graduate level Teachers and licensed Physical, Occupational, and Speech Therapists in their natural environments. - 360.823.5156
  • VROOM - Free science-based tips and tools to help parents and caregivers give children a great start in life today—and an even better future.
Your child's early development is a journey, know what to look for along the way. 

Referral forms for:

Early Support for Infants and Toddlers ages 0-3

Early Head Start or Head Start ages 3-5




Clark County residents can access a variety of low and no-cost health care services.  Go to the Free and Low-Cost Health Related Resources in Clark County website to find more information and download brochures in English or Spanish. This brochure does not imply approval, nor does omission imply disapproval. Call the individual clinic offices for up-to-date information and hours.


The Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs Program supports Maxillofacial Teams in Washington State through contracts to coordinate care for infants and children born with oral facial anomalies, like cleft lip and cleft palate.

The Southwest Washington Maxillofacial Review Board (MFRB), located at the Mary Bridge Children’s Health Center, coordinates treatment for children with cleft lip and/or cleft palate, Velopharyngeal Insufficiency, or any other maxillofacial condition. The Board serves children up to age 21 and focuses on family-centered, community care for children and families from the southwest region of Washington State.



Starting November 2023, everyone who lives in Washington state will have the opportunity to buy health and dental insurance through Washington Healthplanfinder, regardless of immigration status. You do not need U.S. citizenship, a green card, or other immigration papers.

To apply for Medicaid or a qualified health plan through Washington State, visit -  If you would like help applying, call a Sea Mar Community Health Center representative at 855.289.4503.

If you are paying for private health insurance and are eligible for Medicaid, you can apply for the Premium Payment program and be reimbursed for your coverage.  You must enroll in Medicaid first to be considered.  See Premium payment program | Washington State Health Care Authority for more details and application.

Many CYSHCN families are eligible for the Washington State Health Home Program that can provide person-centered, accessible, and frequent case management/care coordination.  To request care coordination from a Medicaid Managed Care Organization contact:

  • Doernbecher Children's Hospital at OHSU - Offers evaluation and diagnosis for children with developmental needs or chronic conditions who need physical therapy, occupational therapy or speech-language pathology.  503.494.2273
  • Innovative Services NW - Innovative Services NW Pediatric Therapy has been serving the special needs of children since 1978. We provide an array of services including Speech, Occupational, and Physical Therapy. We offer services to children who have developmental delays or disabilities as well as other diagnosed conditions.  360.823.5150
  • Legacy Salmon Creek Pediatric Rehabilitation Center - As a regional leader in children's development and rehabilitation, we offer services to children in both in the hospital, as well as clinics throughout Portland and Washington: Randall Children's Hospital, Legacy Meridian Park and Legacy Salmon Creek.  360.487.1777
  • Prism - The Pediatric OTs, PTs, and SLPs at Prism use fun therapy activities and assessment tools to provide treatment to serve children with a variety of needs.  360.597.4048
  • Providence Child Development & Rehabilitation Center - Children are referred to our program to help identify and treat developmental concerns. These concerns may begin anytime during a child’s development and include difficulties with activity, such as daily activities, social skills, communication, mobility and learning.  503.216.2339
  • Randall Children's Pediatric Developmental & Rehabilitation Center - Our child focused centers provide evaluation and therapy in occupational, physical and speech. We’ve designed our clinics for babies, children and their families, and kid-friendly waiting rooms and size appropriate equipment. 503.413.4505



InfantSEE--1 in 5 preschoolers have vision problems that can interfere with learning and behaviors.  An InfantSEE assessment between 6 and 12 months of age is recommended to determine if an infant is at risk for eye or vision disorders. Since many eye problems arise from conditions that can be identified by an eye doctor in the infant's first year of life, a parent can give an infant a great gift by seeking an InfantSEE assessment in addition to the wellness evaluation of the eyes that is done by a pediatrician or family practice doctor.

Casey Eye Institute--Casey Eye institute Vancouver offers comprehensive ophthalmology, treatment for cornea external diseases, glaucoma, neuro ophthalmology, as well as the Elks Children's Eye Clinic.

Family support and education services


Washington Connection offers a fast and easy way for families and individuals to apply for services such as food, cash, and childcare.  For help with your application, call a customer service representative at one of the Sea Mar Community Health Centers below:

  • Battle Ground - 360.342.8051
  • East Vancouver - 360.726.6724
  • Fourth Plain - 360.947.2531
  • Salmon Creek - 360.852.9070
  • Vancouver - 360.213.1326

Clark County Food Pantry Sites distribute food and grocery products directly to community members.

WIC Nutrition Program is a supplemental food and nutrition/breastfeeding education program for clients living in WA State that are pregnant, post-partum, breastfeeding, an infant or child up to 5 years of age with an income less than 185% of the Federal Poverty Level.


Housing resources:

Council for the homeless is a non-profit organization provides resources to affordable housing and shelters in Clark County.  

Vancouver Housing Authority provides subsidized housing for those experiencing barriers to housing because of income, disability, or special needs. 

Partners4Housing offers shared living solutions for adults with disabilities.  Free housing assessment offered through Partners4Housing. 


Child care resources:

WA State Department of Children, Youth & Families can help families pay for quality child care through a child care subsidy program.  Call 1-844-626-8687 or visit their website to apply.

ChildCare Aware can help families find quality child care in your community by calling 1-800-446-1114 or visiting their website.

Home or Center-based programs:

Early Childhood Education Assistance Program (ECEAP):  The Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (ECEAP) is a comprehensive preschool program that provides free services and support to eligible children and their families. Funded by Washington State, ECEAP helps children and families get ready for kindergarten and is free to enrolled families. It serves three and four year- olds from low-income families, and children with developmental or environmental risk factors that could interfere with school success.  ESD 112EOCF, and Innovative Services NW offer ECEAP services among other programs.

Early Head Start/Early ECEAP: Early Head Start and Early ECEAP provide comprehensive child and family development services for low-income pregnant women and families with infants and toddlers ages birth to three years.   ESD 112EOCF, and Innovative Services NW offer Early Head Start/Early ECEAP services among other programs.


  • Developmental Disabilities Administration (DDA) -- Can provide a variety of supports and foster partnerships that empower people to live the lives they want. If you have questions or would like help filling out application, contact the Vancouver DDA Field Office at 360.418.4108, located at 907 Harney St. Suite 200, Vancouver WA 98660. Visit Individual and Family Services page for more information.
  • Informing Families - Video library explaining services and supports for individuals with disabilities.  Provided by the Washington State Developmental Disabilities Council, in partnership with the Developmental Disabilities Administration.
  • The Arc of Washington - Since 1936, The Arc of Washington State has been a leader in the development of services and programs for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities of all ages and in providing support to their families. You can contact the local Arc of Southwest WA at 360.254.1562 located at 101 E. 8th St, Vancouver WA 98660
  • Office of Disabilities Ombuds Washington - The DD Ombuds provides resident-directed complaint resolution at the lowest level possible.  The mission of the DD Ombuds is to inform the Legislature's work to ensure safe, quality DD services and improve the lives of people with developmental disabilities.

Visit Clark County Community Services - Developmental Disabilities Program for more external resources you may find helpful in your search for supports. 


Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP): Nurse-Family Partnership® (NFP) is an evidence-based, community health program that serves low-income, pregnant parents. Each pregnant parent is partnered with a registered nurse and receives ongoing nurse home visits until child turns 2 years of age. It is a life-transforming partnership, for the parent and child.

Sea Mar Maternity Support Services (MSS) & Infant Case Management: The goal of Sea Mar’s Maternity Support Services (MSS) program is to help you to have a healthy pregnancy by providing support and information related to your prenatal and postpartum health. MSS is covered under Washington Apple Health (Medicaid). Infant case management provides support and guidance in the care of your new infant and the care of your family from the time your baby is 2-3 months old through his or her first birthday (for those who qualify).


Children age 4 to 21 -- Public Schools provide special education and related services to eligible children and youths with disabilities.  Contact your local school below for more information on services available to you and your child.

Office of Education Ombudsman Statewide-- OEO assists anyone with questions or concerns about Washington’s K-12 public schools. We can provide you with information, referrals, toolkits, and other resources.  You can call 866.297.2597 but are encouraged you to use the Online Intake Process due to high volume of requests. 

Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction-- OSPI is the primary agency charged with overseeing public K–12 education in Washington state. You can reach them at 360.725.6000

PAVE: Partnerships for Action, Voices for Empowerment-- PAVE provides support, training, information and resources to empower and give voice to individuals, youth and families impacted by disabilities.  Contact the local office at 360.827.0962 or Video phone--360.334.5448


Social Security Benefits for Children (SSI) -- SSI provides monthly cash payments to help meet the basic needs of children who have a physical or mental disability or who are blind. If you care for a child or teenager with a disability, and have limited income and savings or other resources, your child may be eligible for SSI.  To contact your local office, call 800.772.1213 or TTY: 800.325.0778 located at 805 Broadway St., Suite 500, Vancouver WA 98660



Big Brothers Big Sisters of SW WA - Mission is to create and support one-to-one mentoring relationships that ignite the power and promise of youth.

Boys and Girls Club of SW Washington - Boys & Girls Clubs of Southwest Washington strives to develop the strongest organizations by leading with intention and positivity.

Dads M.O.V.E - Specializing in special needs advocacy!  Serving Families in all counties of Washington State, to strengthen the father's role in raising children with behavioral health needs through education, peer support and advocacy.

Healthy Birth Initiatives - Healthy Birth Initiative supports Black and African American women and their families before and after birth.  Online classes are taught with a Black and African American cultural focus and conducted in English. No registration necessary. 

Parent 2 Parent - Support for families based on diagnosis to connect with other parent volunteers with similar experiences for moral/emotional support, resources, and connection from before birth throughout the lifespan.

Perinatal Support of Washington - New and expectant parent groups are a great place to get connected quickly, make connections with other parents and experienced facilitators. There are many new parent groups that are focused on learning about a specific aspect of caregiving, infant development, feeding, etc.  These groups provide a non-judgmental space to explore how we are feeling and doing.

PEACE NW - Provides different opportunities to connect with community events, training, respite and support.

WA State Fathers Network - A Powerful Voice for Fathers and Families of Children with a Disability or Special Health Care Need.  Meeting held virtually on the 3rd Saturday of each month at 9:30 a.m.  For more information, a link to join the meeting or to ask questions, contact Jeremy Van Pelt at 360-448-5000 or FinallyFree2Liv@Gmail.Com  

 WA State Hands & Voices - A parent driven organization dedicated to supporting families with children who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing (DHH) regardless of language or communication mode.

WA State Hands & Voices

Camps and Other Activity Resources

The Arc of Washington provides a list of current and upcoming camps and activities for your child and families to participate in.

Vancouver Parks & Recreation Parks, trails, events and recreation improve quality of life and contribute to a vibrant and connected Vancouver. 

All Inclusive parks can be found on Harper's Playground website or visit Clark County's website featuring Felida's Community Park.


Transportation can greatly affect a person's ability to access health care, groceries, community engagement activities, and an overall quality-of-life.   

  • Community in Motion -- Their mission is to connect neighbors with access to reliable transportation options that support healthy, independent living. Some of the services they provide are: Employment Transportation, Mobility management and Medicaid Funded Non-Emergency Medical Transportation
  • C-Tran Youth Opportunity Pass -- C-TRAN’s Youth Opportunity Pass (YOP) is available to anyone who is 18 years of age and under. It provides free access on C-TRAN Local services, including fixed-route, C-VAN paratransit (must be medically qualified to ride or ride with someone who is), The Current microtransit, and Vanpool.
  • Disabled Parking Pass -- How to get or renew the type of disabled parking privileges you need.

WithinReach Help Me Grow

Connecting parents and caregivers to local resources.

PEACE NW - People Empowered & Communities Enhanced

Support for families and individuals with different abilities. 

Dolly Parton's Imagination Library

A book gifting program that mails free, high-quality books to children from birth to age five, no matter their family’s income.

Brain building activities with your child

Vroom TipsTM help you do more with your shared moments with over 1,000 fun, free activities any moment of the day. 

Additional resources

For more information about resources and access to care, call the Community Health Specialist at 360.907.6918.
Dad in wheelchair with son in a swing at a park