STATEMENT OF TASK
Children with complex medical and educational needs, such as those with developmental disabilities and mental disorders, present a special challenge for policymakers and practitioners who aim to promote children's cognitive, affective and behavioral health. Varied public and professional awareness and evidence on best practices, combined with tremendous heterogeneity in needs, have led to practices and policies that are inconsistent in quality and coverage and often fail to adequately support affected children and their families. As a result, parents are typically left on their own to navigate and coordinate the myriad of social, medical and educational support services, with all the attending financial implications, adding to the already daunting daily challenges of raising a child with special needs. Children with disabilities or medical complexity are an “unrecognized health disparity population” with significant unmet needs.
The goal of this workshop is to highlight the main barriers and promising solutions for improving care and outcomes of children with complex medical and educational needs. The mission of the Forum on Promoting Children's Cognitive, Affective, and Behavioral Health is explicit on the matter of including children with disabilities. The Forum seeks actionable understanding on key research questions for enhancing the evidence base, how best to promote and sustain quality, accessibility and use of relevant programs and services, and how best to inform relevant policy development and implementation.