A child under the age of 18 who requires a level of care over and above the norm for his/her age
Child welfare workers sometimes use this term to refer to a child who faces challenges that may make it harder to find the child a permanent family if reunification or kinship care is not possible. Special needs children often include those over the age of 5, members of a minority racial group or sibling group, and/or a child with a physical, mental or emotional disability. Children with special needs generally are eligible for additional services as well as financial assistance if they are adopted from foster care.
In terms of adoption, this includes a child who meets one or more of the following criteria: 1. A child with a specific physical, medical, mental or emotional handicapping condition 2. An "older child", usually over age 5 3. Siblings (2 or more children) who must be placed together (the placement of twin infants is not generally considered special needs, however)