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Receiving information about community services is a top priority for parents of children with chronic illnesses.  Linking a patient and family to community resources can involve:

  • A specific service referral,
  • Sharing a handout of local services with recommended services circled,
  • Posting information about community resources in waiting rooms,
  • Keeping up-to-date on what’s available or knowing who does.

Community Resources for Children with Special Health Care Needs

  • Family Health Hotline – a program of WithinReach
    Toll-free, statewide child and family health Information and Referral Line from WithinReach. Get connected to services in your community including free or low-cost health insurance, food resources, immunizations, breastfeeding support, family planning services, parenting support, child development screening services, and many other social and health programs, including information for children with special health care needs. Access to interpretive service for 50 languages.Hotline (Hours: Monday to Thursday 8:00am to 5:30pm, Friday 8:00am to 5:00pm)
    1-800 322-2588 or 1-800-833-6388 (tty relay)
  • – a program of WithinReach
    Want to look for resources yourself and apply for programs for which you are eligible? Search the ParentHelp123 website to find services available through the Family Health Hotline. The Call Center staff is the same for the Health Hotline and ParentHelp123- Call if you want help finding out if your family qualifies for programs and filling out applications on-line.Hotline: 1-866-585-1123  Website in Spanish / En Español
  • Quick Pick: Who Can Help Families and Primary Care Providers Get Services for a Child with Special Needs
    How to know whether to call early intervention, public health or the school district (and links to contact information)- 1 page handout
  • Public Health Children with Special Health Care Needs (CSHCN) Coordinator
    This link takes you to a guide with information on how to refer families to public health nurse CSHCN Coordinators.  The guide also includes contact information by county for each CSHCN Coordinator in Washington State. Note: To go directly to the website of your local public health department or district
  • CSHCN Coordinators are public health nurses in local health departments who can assist families who have children with special needs from birth to age 18.
    CSHCN Coordinators can:

    • Help families access needed services for their child, such as medical care and other interventions.
    • Refer families to health insurance programs and information, both private insurance and the state funded Medicaid program.
    • Help families support each other through parent support organizations.
    • Help with concerns such as feeding, nutrition, growth, development and behavior.
    • Provide screening and assessment for your child.
  • Family Resources Coordinator (FRC)
    FRCs help families with children age 0-36 months who are concerned about their child’s development get the early intervention services a child may need.  At the family’s request, an FRC can help the family through screening, evaluation and assessment, the development of an Individualized Family Service Plan, receiving early intervention services and transition out of the early intervention program at age 3. More information about FRCs and early intervention services is available through the Washington State Department of Early Learning’s Early Support for Infants and Toddlers (ESIT) Program.
  • Go to:  Resources by County for county-specific resource information or Quick Key Contacts for statewide resources

Family to Family Support

Linking to other families dealing with the same diagnosis or similar issues is an important step for many parents of children with special health care needs. Parents rank parent support groups in the top three ‘wishes’ on a list of support services – after information about community resources and financial information/help. (Liptak GS, Revell GM, Pediatrics. 84:465-471, 1989).

The link may be to another family in your practice who has indicated willingness to connect, inform and share experiences or to other family organizations in the local community, region or nation.  There are many internet support groups and information resources.  Encourage parents in your practice, your local family resources coordinator and the public health nurse Children with Special Health Care Needs (CSHCN) coordinator to share information on useful resources they have found with your practice.

Statewide Family to Family Support Organizations

Family Support Policy Statement

Policy Statement:The Pediatrician’s Role in Family Support and Family Support Programs (2011)
Committee on Early Childhood, Adoption, and Dependent Care, American Academy of Pediatrics. Pediatrics 2011;128:6 e1680e1684; published ahead of print November 28, 2011,doi:10.1542/peds.2011-2664