Improvements in the children and youth with special health care needs services began back in 1989 through amendments in the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act. These amendments to Title V of the 1935 Social Security Act, as well as the Maternal and Child Health Block Grant, require states to provide family-centered, culturally competent, community-based, coordinated care.
In Wisconsin, a statewide need assessment was conducted in 1991 in partnership with parents and providers. As a result the Wisconsin Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs Program embarked on a new vision for the delivery of services for families and children.
Today this vision reflects a change from providing direct payment for specific medical services to the development of community-based services — services located in communities where families live. With this, the concept of the five Regional Centers for Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs was born.
In September of 1999, Children's Hospital of Wisconsin applied for grant funding and was selected to receive funds to develop the Southeast Regional Center for Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs. It has been located at Children's Hospital of Wisconsin in Milwaukee since 2000.
All five Regional Centers are committed to working together to form a statewide, coordinated system of care for children and youth with special health care needs and their families.