Unmet service needs of families of young children with chronic illnesses and disabilities

Sara A Axtell, Ann E Garwick, Joän Patterson, Forrest C. Bennett, Robert Wm Blum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Data about health and educational services were collected from 187 families with young children (under two years) who have chronic illnesses and disabilities. The purpose was to assess parents' satisfaction with services their families received and to identify families' unmet service needs as well as the reasons for these unmet needs. Although families' ratings of the adequacy of services are relatively high, 28% of the families report unmet service needs. The unmet needs most often reported are occupational, physical, or speech therapy; respite care/child care; and special education. Lack of funding is the most commonly given reason for unmet needs. Children with multiple impairments are at highest risk for unmet needs. Only 22% of unmet needs reported at the initial interview have been met by the time of the six-month follow-up. Increased coordination and monitoring of services across service sectors are indicated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)395-411
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Family and Economic Issues
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1995


  • childhood chronic illness
  • childhood disability
  • family needs
  • health care
  • satisfaction with services


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