Social Determinants of Health Information and Resources

Tools to understand the social determinants of health and their impact on children and youth with special healthcare needs

About one in five children in the United States has a special healthcare need, according to the National Survey of Children’s Health. To be considered a child or youth with special healthcare needs (CYSHCN), the child must have:

  • Chronic and/or medically complex conditions that will affect them throughout their life or
  • A single diagnosis that may temporarily affect their life

No matter the condition or complexity, these children’s health outcomes and quality of life are heavily influenced by social factors commonly called the social determinants of health (SDoH).

Fact Sheets

Why Do the Social Determinants of Health for CYSHCN Matter?

All CYSHCN need systems that function well and work together to serve their needs. According to the National Survey of Children’s Health, 85 percent of Illinois CYSHCN do not receive care in a well-functioning system.

A lack of well-functioning systems of care means CYSHCN are denied access to different services and supports across their life course. These can include:

  • Specialized therapies
  • Psychological, educational or vocational counseling and supports
  • Home nursing
  • School-based health services
  • Education and support for their families and caregivers

Fact Sheets

Economic Stability as a Social Determinant of Health

Economic stability is the ability to access the resources needed for one’s life and well-being. How much money you earn has been linked to better health outcomes and life expectancy. A child’s well-being and future health outcomes are strongly related to family income.

CYSHCNs have more needs that require more frequent access to services. This places them at risk for unmet needs throughout their life.

Fact Sheets

Community and Social Context as a Social Determinant of Health for CYSHCN

Community and social context as a social determinant of health includes community engagement, support systems and how a person integrates within their community. The critical aspect is a feeling or sense of connectedness in the community through relationships.

The presence or lack of these relationships significantly affects a person’s health and well-being and impacts the academic ability of children.

Fact Sheets

Access to Quality Education as a Social Determinant of Health for CYSHCN

Access to quality education is the building block for success for all children and their futures. Quality education can give people access to jobs so they are able to support themselves financially and lead healthier and longer lives.

CYSHCN may face more difficulties in accessing quality education. They also have increased behavioral or physical health conditions that may affect their education success.

Fact Sheets

More Resources Coming Soon

  • Neighborhood and Physical Environment as a Social Determinant of Health for CYSHCN
  • Access to Healthcare as a Social Determinant of Health and CYSHCN