The Impact of COVID-19 on Systems of Care for Children and Youth With Special Health Care Needs

Sally S. Cohen, Valerie Boebel Toly, Stacee M. Lerret, Kathleen J. Sawin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: This article describes the challenges and opportunities that the COVID-19 pandemic presented for providing and coordinating care for children and youth with special health care needs (CYSHCN) who rely on a diverse array of systems to promote their health, education, and well-being. Method: Peer-reviewed published literature and reports from the national government and nonprofit organizations that advocate for CYSHCN were examined, particularly concerning systems that impacted CYSHCN during COVID-19. Results: Pre-COVID-19, CYSHCN and their families faced challenges accessing and coordinating care across diverse systems. COVID-19 exacerbated these challenges because of disruptions in care and services that negatively impacted CYSHCN. COVID-19 also highlighted opportunities for positive change and care innovations. Discussion: Understanding the systems of care that CYSHCN rely on and the effects of COVID-19 on these systems can enhance access to and quality of care. Recommendations are made for practice, leadership, research, and policy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)106-116
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Pediatric Health Care
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2023


  • COVID-19
  • Children
  • chronic illness
  • family
  • mental health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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