Children with Complex Care Needs

Children and youth with complex care needs are among the most vulnerable populations served by our health and social care systems.  Life-saving interventions and advances in medical technology enable children with complex care needs to live well into adulthood and beyond.  The often-complicated health and social systems require parents and other family members to learn a variety of skills and develop incredible stamina to enable their child to remain safe at home and active in the community.

Community and home-based care programs provide many opportunities and advantages for children with special needs.  They often require an array of health, education, social, and other services in order to live safely at home, with their families, and in their communities.  While there are many innovative programs currently in place in provinces and territories across the country to support children at home and at school, many obstacles inhibit children with special needs and their families from obtaining the necessary aids and devices, treatment, financial assistance, and support they require.

Pan-canadian scan: Home and Community-based Services and Supports

The Canadian Home Care Association, in collaboration with key informants and subject matter experts, conducted a pan-Canadian scan to gain an understanding of the current programs available through provincial and territorial governments for children with complex care needs. Download Report 

Gaps and innovations

What are the challenges and innovations in publicly funded home care and community-based services for children with complex care needs? To answer this question, we surveyed health and social ministries across Canada, researched publicly available material, interviewed subject matter experts and engaged  parents in conversations.  This is what we found. Download Infographic

Invitational stakeholder workshop

This workshop dialogue builds upon the pan-Canadian scan findings and the experiences and best practices of home and community-care providers across the country.  This unique multi-stakeholder forum explored what can be accomplished at a national level to enhance the care of children with complex care needs and the principles that should guide the development of initiatives and programs. Download workshop proceedings

High Impact Practice: My Child, My Heart

An Integrated Approach to Services for Families with Children with Complex Needs.
This High Impact Practice describes a community-based, coordinated and integrated program for children with complex care needs and their families, living on-reserve in Manitoba’s Interlake Region. It profiles the collaboration between the Pinaymootang First Nation and the First Nations and Inuit Health Branch to facilitate access to comprehensive services that support the health and well-being of children and their families. Download HIP

Quick Facts

The number 1 challenge is the lack of a common definition for children with complex care needs.
CHCA Home and Community-Based Services and Supports: Children with Complex Care Needs, 2016

100% of provincial / territorial programs have access to limited data to evaluate and improve home and community-based care.
CHCA Home and Community-Based Services and Supports: Children with Complex Care Needs, 2016

Most government ministries use the age of 18 or 19 years as eligibility criteria for services.
CHCA Home and Community-Based Services and Supports: Children with Complex Care Needs, 2016

50% of caregivers providing care to their children reported that they have unmet support needs.
Statistics Canada, January 2020


This national association enables local improvements and contributes to system-wide change by building communities across the full continuum of care for children’s healthcare. Visit the Site

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