In April 2014, the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) and The HSC Foundation partnered to conduct the first national conference on “Military-Connected Children with Special Health Care Needs and Their Families.”
Military families, researchers, educational and health care providers, and others who care for the mental and physical health of children and families connected to the military came to the National Institutes of Health campus to discuss this important topic. The purpose of the conference was to bring together these key stakeholders to address how to provide the best possible educational, psychosocial and physical services for children with special health care needs who have one or more parents in, or formerly in, the military.
While more than 15 percent of children in the United States have special health care needs, less is known about the prevalence of these needs among military-connected children. For this conference, “special health care needs” was defined as having or being at increased risk for a chronic physical, developmental, behavioral or emotional condition that requires health and related services of a type or amount beyond that required generally.
The outcome of the conference was to identify those programs, strategies and activities that work and are effective, and to identify gaps in current knowledge where research and development are needed. The conference also examined health disparities among military children with disabilities from minority populations, an issue of major importance to both The HSC Foundation and NICHD.