Background: The International Classification of Functioning, Disability, and Health (ICF) Core Sets for children and youth with cerebral palsy (CP) offer service providers and stakeholders a specific framework to explore functioning and disability for assessment, treatment, evaluation, and policy purposes in a global context. Objective: Describe global initiatives applying the ICF Core Sets for children and youth with CP, with a focus on contributions to clinical practice and challenges in their implementation. Methods: This is a descriptive cross-sectional study. Ongoing initiatives applying the ICF Core Sets for CP in Russia, Poland, Malawi, and Brazil are included. Results: The main contributions of applying the ICF Core Sets for children and youth with CP include: (1) an objective description of abilities and limitations in everyday activities; (2) a consistent identification of facilitators and barriers influencing functioning; (3) a practical communication tool promoting client-centered care and multidisciplinary teamwork; and, (4) a useful guideline for measurement selection. The main challenges of adopting the ICF Core Sets are related to lack of ICF knowledge requiring intense training and translating results from standardized measures into the ICF qualifiers in a consistent way. Conclusions: Global initiatives include research and clinical applications at the program, service and system levels. The ICF Core Sets for CP are useful tools to guide service provision and build profiles of functioning and disability. Global interprofessional collaboration, capacity training, and informatics (e-records) will maximize their applications and accelerate adoption.
Keywords: ICF Core Sets; abilities; cerebral palsy; child; disability; functioning; global health; service provision.