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Public Health Nurs. 2013 Jan;30(1):7-17. doi: 10.1111/phn.12000. Epub 2012 Sep 20.

Are services to tennessee children with special health care needs comparable with national achievement of MCHB objectives?

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  • 1Schools of Nursing and Medicine (Pediatrics), Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee 37240, USA.



We assessed experiences of families with children with special health care needs already engaged with Tennessee Children's Special Services or a family advocacy agency, family voices, and compared their experiences with national data to determine achievement of national maternal-child health objectives.


Using a descriptive/comparison design, Tennessee families engaged with the state or advocacy agency (n = 816) were compared with the 2005-2006 sample of the National Survey of Children with Special Health Care Needs (n = 40,840) and the Tennessee subsample (n = 794).


Primary data were obtained from a survey of families associated with either Tennessee agency. Secondary data analysis used raw data from the national survey.


All families reported challenges related to time, finances, and family interactions. Most were satisfied with health care services received. Dental care was an issue for all families, but more so for the agencies' sample. Those families also reported more problems with continuous screenings of their affected child and less coordination of care than the national sample.


Examining the experiences of families with special needs children who receive services from state agencies in the national context contributes to improving family-centered services and achieving Maternal-Child Health Bureau objectives.

© 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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