Children With Special Needs

Teen girl

Medicaid Early, Periodic, Screening, Diagnosis, and Treatment (EPSDT). If medically necessary, all children enrolled in Medicaid from birth to age 21 may qualify for additional health services and supports through the EPSDT benefit. Under the EPSDT Medicaid benefit, children with Medicaid coverage are eligible for preventive and routine health care as well as medically necessary specialized care or services.  The goal of EPSDT is to identify and treat health conditions early to promote normal growth and development. EPSDT services, since they include preventive services, are available at a child's regular visit with his or her doctor.  In some cases, where special health care needs are identified, additional services may be available.  

Katie Beckett is an eligibility category that allows certain children under age 19 who have long term disabilities or complex medical needs to become eligible for Medicaid coverage.  Katie Beckett  eligibility enables children to be cared for at home instead of in an institution.  With Katie Beckett, only the child's income and resources are used to determine eligibility.

Katie Beckett eligibility

A Cedar Family Center provides information and referral about the services and support options available for all children enrolled in Medicaid who have disabilities and special needs.

Cedar Fact Sheet - English

Cedar Fact Sheet - Spanish   

Early Intervention promotes the growth and development of infants and toddlers who have a developmental disability or delay in one or more areas. Developmental disabilities or delays can affect a child’s speech, physical ability, or social skills. Children referred to the Early Intervention Program receive a comprehensive developmental evaluation to determine if they are eligible.

Early Intervention page

KIDS CONNECT is a program that provides specialized services at DCYF licensed childcare centers that can help children with special needs participate, play, and learn along with their typically-developing peers.  KIDS CONNECT provides an additional staff member in the classroom to support the child with special health care needs. 

Personal Assistance Services and Supports (PASS) is a family directed service that can help families of children with special health care needs. PASS is provided in the home or community setting to help improve a child’s ability to do activities of daily life, maintain safety, and/or gain social skills.

Home Based Therapeutic Services (HBTS) are medically necessary, intensive services that can help families of children with moderate to severe behavioral health, developmental or physical disabilities. HBTS is provided to children in the home or community setting.

The Respite Program for Children allow parents or guardians caring for a child with disabilities, to have time off for themselves.   To be eligible for the Respite for Children Program, a child must need an institutional level of care that can best be described as the type of care typically provided in a hospital, nursing home or Intermediate Care Facility for the Mentally Retarded (ICF/MR). 

Parents / guardians are required to find their own respite worker. Assistance is available from certified Respite agencies

The Rhode Island Medicaid Programs for Children with Special Healthcare Needs contains an account of services and supports available to Medicaid eligible children and their families (Fee for Service Medicaid, Neighborhood Health Plan of RI, Tufts Health Plan , and UnitedHealthcare Community Plan).

RI Medicaid Programs for Children (5/2024)