DSHS is dedicated to a healthy Texas. They oversee many programs, including disease prevention, EMS (Emergency Medical Services), health-care professional licensing, the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program, and birth and death certificates. DSHS offers 2 programs specifically for families of children with disabilities or special health-care needs.
Mental health is a special and important health-care need. Approximately 1 in 4 people will experience some type of emotional disturbance or mental health-care need in their lifetime. And many children with disabilities or special health-care needs require extra emotional support.
DSHS has 37 Local Mental Health Authorities across the state that offer mental health services. Each of these providers has a direct hotline, and you can find those phone numbers on the Local Mental Health Authority search page. Or you can call 2-1-1 to get connected to your Local Mental Health Authority.
If you think your child is in need of mental health support, please see our Mental Health page to learn more. And read on.
Once you have gotten in touch with DSHS, they will perform an assessment to determine what services your child and your family might need. During your first appointment, DSHS will determine what level of care you need out of 5 possible levels.
In addition to the health-care benefits it provides to children with special health-care needs, the CSHCN Services Program also offers other services through a network of local, community-based partner organizations. These local organizations provide a variety of services including case management, parent support, information and referral, respite, education, and training.
The CSHCN Services Program helps:
The program helps with:
Visit the CSHCN Services Program website to see if your child is able to get into these programs.
Because the CSHCN Services Program is the payer of last resort (meaning it pays for services after any other insurance coverage pays first), you must also apply for Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). You can learn more about these programs on the About Insurance and Health-Care Benefits Programs page. If your child is receiving Medicaid or CHIP, you may still be able to get help from CSHCN Services Program, but only for services that Medicaid and CHIP do not cover.
Currently, the CSHCN Services Program has a waiting list for health-care benefits. This means that new clients will not be able to receive health-care benefits until they are removed from the waiting list. All clients, including those on the waiting list, are able to receive case management services at any time. They may be able to receive services through the CSHCN Services Program’s community based contractors.
Once your child is enrolled in CSHCN Services Program, it is important to fill out the renewal paperwork every 12 months so that your child stays in the program. Otherwise, your child may be removed from the program and placed back on the CSHCN Services Program waiting list.
When you apply for the CSHCN Services Program you will be asked to provide:
You can find out more about the documents that will count as this proof on the CSHCN Services Program application form.
If you are trying to get in touch with DSHS, you can reach them: