Context: Federal and state maternal and child health programs are responsible for promoting and improving the health and well-being of children. To support achievement of this goal, the federal Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB) in partnership with the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has developed a new survey that will provide uniform national and state data on the health and well-being of children, as well as the characteristics of their families and neighborhoods.
Purpose: The National Survey of Children's Health was designed to produce reliable and representative state- and national-level estimates for Healthy People 2010 national prevention objectives, for each state's Title V needs assessment, and for Title V program planning and evaluation. In addition, it will provide a new data resource for researchers, advocacy groups, and other interested parties. It is anticipated that this survey will be repeated periodically, making trend analysis possible.
Methods: This survey was conducted using the State and Local Area Integrated Telephone Survey (SLAITS) mechanism, which shares the random-digit-dial sampling frame of the National Immunization Survey (sponsored by the National Immunization Program and NCHS). Using the SLAITS platform, interviews on approximately 2000 children were conducted in each state and the District of Columbia. The parent or guardian most knowledgeable about the child completed a battery of questions on health and development, health insurance coverage, access to care, utilization of health care services, presence of a medical home, family functioning, parental health, and neighborhood characteristics. Data collection began in January 2003 and continued through April 2004. Summary reports and electronic data files will be available to the public by early 2005.
Conclusion: This is the second state and national survey jointly completed by MCHB and NCHS. It is designed to complement the 2001 National Survey of Children with Special Health Care Needs by providing data on the health of the general child population.