The Michigan Children with Special Needs Fund (CSN Fund) is a privately-funded program within Michigan's Children's Special Health Care Services (CSHCS) program. The CSN Fund was created to help children with special health care needs when other funding sources are not available. The Fund is managed by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) and staffed by state employees. Working together with CSHCS, local health departments, and other stakeholders, the Fund is able to reach children across Michigan.
Since it was created in 1944, the CSN Fund has been supported through generous donations from families, individuals, businesses, and organizations who share a similar goal: to help families improve their child's mobility, independence and quality of life. The CSN Fund is intended as a payer of last resort and cannot be used to replace public funds when they are available.
Our Mission is to provide family-centered support for children in Michigan with special health care needs when help is not available through any other funding source. The Fund helps families to purchase equipment to improve the child's health, mobility, and quality of life.
The Children with Special Needs Fund (CSN Fund) was created in 1944 when Dr. James T. Pardee, co-founder of the Dow Chemical Company, bequested Dow Chemical Company stocks to the Children's Special Health Care Services (formerly Crippled Children's Commission). At the direction of his widow, Mrs. Elsa Pardee, the funds were to be used to assist children with special needs and not to be used to substitute for state appropriations. In keeping with these wishes, the Fund continutes to operate as a payer of last resort. The CSN Fund (formerly Crippled Children's Commission) was created per Part 58 Crippled Children Section 333.5861, Public Health Code to oversee the funds.
The original Pardee stock was sold in 1997 and used to purchase U.S. Treasury Notes. Although the CSN Fund still receives contributions from individuals, corporations, and businesses, the assets purchased with the earnings of the Pardee stock remain the largest part of the CSN Fund. In 2017, the Michigan State legislature passed HB 5748 to allow the state treasurer to invest the assets of the Fund more broadly to promote growth of the investments.
The name of the Fund has changed over the years. It was originally called the Crippled Children's Fund before the name was changed to Trust Fund for Children. In 2002 it became Children with Special Needs Fund (CSN Fund).
Dr. and Mrs. James T. Pardee's gift of Dow Chemical stocks to the Children with Special Health Care Services program (formerly Crippled Children's Commission) created the CSN Fund in 1944. Although the stocks were sold in 1997, earnings from that sale were initially invested in government securities and commercial bonds. Recently investments have been diversified to yield optimal market rate of return.
Every fiscal year, the CSN Fund Advisory Committee sets its annual budget based on a portion of interest income earned from its investments. Any remaining dollars are re-invested to grow the Fund. The Fund operates entirely on donations, and no tax dollars are ever used. Although the CSN Fund still receives contributions from individuals, corporations, and businesses, the assets purchased with the earnings of the Pardee stock remains the largest part of the CSN Fund. The Bureau of Investments within the Michigan Department of Treasury invests the assets of the Fund.
Who is eligible to apply to the CSN Fund?
Families with a child up to 21 years old who is a Michigan resident, U.S. citizen, and is enrolled in, or medically eligible to enroll in, the Children's Special Health Care Services (CSHCS) program may apply to the Children with Special Needs Fund. To find out of your child is eligible, contact the CSHCS office at your local health department.
Children enrolled in Adoption Medical Subsidy program, Habilitation Support Waiver, and Community Mental Health (CMH), must first apply to those agencies because the CSN Fund dollars cannot be used to replace public funds when they are available. The CSN Fund is the payer of last resort.
Note: Children enrolled in the Children's Waiver Program(CWP) are NOT eligible for the CSN Fund.
To apply for assistance from the CSN Fund, contact the CSHCS office in your local health department for an application and assistance with the application process or you may download an application and instructions. You may also contact the CSN Fund directly at (517) 241-7420 or the CSHCS Family Phone Line at 1-800-359-3722
Here is a list of required documents you need to submit when applying to the CSN Fund:
- A completed CSN Fund Application (DCH-1239)
- A Financial Assessment Form (DCH-1273) (for children not enrolled in CSHCS)
- A letter from the child's parent or legal guardian/caregiver explaining the need and reason for the request
- A letter of medical necessity from the child's specialty physician
- Completed Documentation of Assistance form (DCH-2423) showing you contacted at least two (2) sources for assistance in purchasing the equipment (Examples: other state or federally-funded programs, local service organizations, churches, insurance company, etc.)
- Signed Landlord Agreement form (DCH-2424) (for rental units only when requesting wheelchair ramps or electrical upgrades)
- Three quotes may be required for the requested equipment/item.
Note: Depending on the nature of the request, you may be asked to provide additional information. Please allow 4-6 weeks for a decision to be made.
For eligible recipients, the Fund may provide partial or full funding for the following:
- Adaptive Recreational Equipment
- Air Conditioners/Central Aira
- Ceiling or Stair Liftsb
- Electrical Service Upgradesc
- Platform Liftsd
- Therapeutice Bikes/Tricyclese
- Transit Options
- Turney Seats
- Vehicle Accessibility Devices (van lifts, ramps, tie downs, etc.)
- Weighted Blankets/Vests
- Wheelchair Ramps (residential)
a Approved by a CSHCS medical care consultant
b Only when special grant funds are available. Call the office at 517-241-7420 to find out if funds are available for these items.
c Approved for children using medical equipment at home requiring a dedicated circuit.
d A platform lift may be considered if the property will not accommodate a wheelchair ramp to meet ADA (American Disability Act) guidelines. A home evaluation report must be submitted to show that a platform lift is the better option.
e Request must be justified by the child's specialty physician (not primary care) AND physical or occupational therapist who assessed the equipment and determined it to be appropriate for the child.
There is no income eligibility restriction to apply for CSN funds. Applications for children not currently enrolled in CSHCS must include the Children with Special Needs Fund Financial Assessment form (DCH-1273).
In the event there is a period of decreased revenue, budget shortfalls, or other funding constraints for the CSN Fund, applications may be subject to income eligibility restrictions based on household income and family size.