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Children's Medical Services - Special services for children with special needs
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Happy baby; Text - Providing health care services that ensure our children start out healthy Four Medical Professionals; Text - Creating a place where health care professionals connect Four girls smiling; Text - Providing extraordinary care so children can lead ordinary lives
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Module 1: Lesson 3: Element 8

Element 8: Design Accessible Systems that are Flexible, Culturally Competent, and Responsive to Family Needs

This element recognizes that it is crucial for the system to remain flexible, accessible, and responsive to the needs of the family. Traditionally, family members have had to adapt their lives to meet the scheduling requirements and regulations of the system. The pressure of having to comply with the inner workings of such a complex system often creates undue stress on the family. In a family-centered approach, family members are provided with options and choices about when, where, and how to access services. A system that is flexible in meeting the needs of the child and responsive to the challenges of the family as a whole will ultimately result in less stress on the family and better results for the child.

Practice Considerations

  • Be available (flexible hours, evening hours, and weekend hours).
  • Consider transportation needs and options for families seeking services.
  • Eliminate financial barriers to the greatest extent possible (assist families to apply for services such as Medicaid, SSI, Title V).
  • Use service coordination services to help families gain access to needed community-based services.

A family-centered approach provides family members with a sense of control over their own lives. Parents who have children with special needs often feel that they have little or no choice about when appointments are made, which providers they see, or what services their child receives. In a system that is family-centered, the family is the driving force of service delivery. All disciplines come together with the family to develop a plan for the child that addresses the concerns, resources, and priorities of the family.