The families of children with special health care needs face extraordinary challenges in their daily lives making sure that their children attend all their hospital and specialty and therapeutic visits, receive required nursing care, and receive appropriate specialized day care and special education. Families find their lives with children with special needs even more stressful in the face of poverty, lack of access to culturally appropriate services and in the presence of social and language barriers. Community health workers who receive the Special Connections curriculum bring resources, knowledge and strength to these families and help them in their journey to improve the health, education and recreational care that their children receive. Community health workers also help prepare the families for the transition that their children will need to make in late adolescence and early adulthood.


  • Our Team includes members who have clinical experience with children with disabilities as well as master educators who have developed successful curricular materials about children and adolescents with disabilities.
  • The team has access to consultants in all disability specialty fields as well as nursing, pharmacy, etc. Boston Children’s Hospital has strong grounding in the understanding of early childhood programming and the transitional phases, particularly from adolescence into adult care.


Groups in Massachusetts and other sites where we have held the Special Connections training for Community Health Workers are incorporating what they have learned into their work with the children and families.


The statements in this document are made solely by Boston Children’s Hospital. No statement in this document should be construed as an official position of or endorsement by Abt Associates Inc. or the Massachusetts Executive Office of Health and Human Services.


The mission of Boston Children’s Hospital is to provide the highest quality health care, be the leading source of research and discovery, to educate the next generation of leaders in child health and to enhance the health and well-being of the children and families in our local community.


  • We are one of the first hospitals in the country to host the Big Apple Circus Crown troop, who entertain the children and their families with antics and beautiful music.
  • Boston Children’s Hospital proudly celebrated our 150th Anniversary in 2019.


  • Boston Children’s Hospital partner site in NYC reported that their Special Connections curriculum, to support community health worker engagement in the ED, helped the NYC site develop a parallel process for their ten community health workers. They now see significant decrease in distress and definite reductions in ED use, affecting care provided to 200 families. Their partner in North Carolina report that the curriculum has been so helpful for the community health workers that they are now using it to train foster parents who are caring for children with special health care needs.


Actuarial and Financial

Care Coordination/Integration

Community-Based Care and Social Determinants of Health

Consumer Engagement

Flexible Services

Health Information Technology (HIT)

Performance Improvement

Population Health Management