California Children's Services (CCS): A Terrific Program for Eligible Children

The California Children's Services program, often referred to as CCS, provides diagnostic and treatment services, medical case management, and physical and occupational therapy services to children under age 21 with CCS-eligible medical conditions. Examples of CCS-eligible conditions include, but are not limited to, chronic medical conditions such as cystic fibrosis, hemophilia, cerebral palsy, heart disease, cancer, traumatic injuries, and infectious diseases producing major sequelae. CCS also provides medical therapy services that are delivered at public schools. 

Children may qualify for CCS if they meet the following criteria:

  • The child must be under 21 years old
  • The child has or may have a medical condition that is covered by CCS
  • The child must be a resident of California
  • Additionally, the child must have one of the following:
    • family income of $40,000 or less
    • out-of-pocket medical expenses expected to be more than 20 percent of family's adjusted gross annual family income
    • a need for an evaluation to find out if there is a health problem covered by CCS
    • was adopted with a known health problem that is covered by CCS
    • a need for the Medical Therapy Program
    • have Medi-Cal full scope with no share of cost

Only certain conditions are covered by CCS (check out a full list here). In general, CCS covers medical conditions that are physically disabling or require medical, surgical, or rehabilitative services. There also may be certain criteria that determine if your child’s medical condition is eligible. Listed below are categories of medical conditions that may be covered and some examples of each:

  • Conditions involving the heart (congenital heart disease)
  • Neoplasms (cancers, tumors)
  • Disorders of the blood (hemophilia, sickle cell anemia)
  • Endocrine, nutritional, and metabolic diseases (thyroid problems, PKU, diabetes)  
  • Disorders of the genito-urinary system (serious chronic kidney problems)
  • Disorders of the gastrointestinal system (chronic inflammatory disease, diseases of the liver)
  • Serious birth defects (cleft lip/palate, spina bifida)
  • Disorders of the sense organs (hearing loss, glaucoma, cataracts)
  • Disorders of the nervous system (cerebral palsy, uncontrolled seizures)
  • Disorders of the musculoskeletal system and connective tissues (rheumatoid arthritis, muscular dystrophy)
  • Severe disorders of the immune system (HIV infection)
  • Disabling conditions or poisonings requiring intensive care or rehabilitation (severe head, brain, or spinal cord injuries, severe burns)
  • Complications of premature birth requiring an intensive level of care
  • Disorders of the skin and subcutaneous tissue (severe hemangioma)
  • Medically handicapping malocclusion (severely crooked teeth)

To apply a family must complete the CCS Application (page 3) and return it to the county CCS office. Be prepared to give CCS all of the information requested, so they can properly determine if the family/child qualifies. Additionally, families will be expected to apply to Medi-Cal if CCS believes that a family’s income qualifies them for the Medi-Cal program.

What is the Medical Therapy Program?

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The Medical Therapy Program (MTP) is a special program within CCS that provides physical therapy (PT), occupational therapy (OT) and medical therapy conference (MTC) services for children who have disabling conditions, generally due to neurological or musculoskeletal disorders.

Just like the general California Children's Services (CCS) program, anyone, such as a parent, teacher, school nurse, or physician can refer a child to the MTP. Once a child's medical records are reviewed and it has been determined that the child is medically eligible for the Medical Therapy Program, the child is then referred to the local Medical Therapy Unit (MTU) for a therapy evaluation.