WASHINGTON, March 5 (UPI) -- Twenty-four percent of families with a special needs child report a parent had to stop working or reduce hours to care for the child, a U.S. study says.
The survey by the Health Resources and Services Administration, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, found 10.2 million U.S. children in the have special healthcare needs, or 14 percent of all U.S. children. More than one-fifth of U.S. households with children have at least one child with special needs.
Children with special healthcare needs are defined as having or being at risk for "chronic physical, developmental, behavioral, or emotional conditions that have lasted or are expected to last at least 12 months."
Of all children with special healthcare needs, 38 percent are never affected in their daily activities by their conditions, as reported by their parents and 94 percent have a regular source of care when they are sick.
However, the survey found families are struggling with the demands of caring for a special needs child with 12 percent of families requiring mental healthcare or counseling related to the child's medical, behavioral or other health conditions.
The survey screened 364,841 children for special healthcare needs and completed 40,840 interviews with families of children for special healthcare needs.