About Us

The Northern Regional Center for Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs (CYSHCN) is dedicated to meeting family needs through a statewide coordinated system of information, referral and follow up, family to family support and strong partnerships with providers in 15 counties and 6 tribes of northern Wisconsin.

We provide free and confidential services for children:

  • Less than 22 years of age
  • with a physical, developmental, behavioral or emotional condition that has lasted over a year or will last that long
  • who require more health or educational services than other children their same age

The Northern Regional Center office is located in Wausau, Wisconsin and supports 15 counties and 6 tribes. Staff are available to help problem-solve, provide information or make referrals to community, state, and national resources. We regularly travel in the area so can drop off resources, meet for coffee, or host a training in your home community.

The Northern Regional Center for Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs (CYSHCN) is funded by the Public Health Division of the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, through the Maternal and Child Health Title V Services Block Grant. More information about the network of CYSHCN programs in Wisconsin is available here: northernregionalcenter.org/about/cyshcn-network/

CYSHCN Philosophy

We believe that:

  • Children are best served within their family
  • Children and families are best supported within the context of their community
  • Families need to have convenient access to care coordinators
  • Collaboration is the best way to provide comprehensive services
  • Family perspectives and presence must be included in all aspects of the system.

Our goal is to meet the needs of children and youth with special needs by focusing on the unique strengths of family members, responding to all requests in a timely manner, by finding resources as close to home as possible and by working with local partners collaboratively to serve the children and their families.

CYSHCN Mission

The Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs Program will collaborate with national, state, and community-based partners to link children to appropriate services, close service gaps, reduce duplication and develop policies to better serve families.


Allison Lourash, Program Manager

Allison has over 20 years of personal and professional experience working with families who are navigating systems to help their kids. Being born with a physical disability, as well as other personal experiences, have shaped Allison’s career and she is excited to partner with families, providers, and others in the CYSHCN Network across the state to find answers and support families. 

Allison Lourash


Michelle Steffen, Community Specialist

My name is Michelle Steffen, Community Specialist for the Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs Northern Region.  I am also a WSPEI District Family Engagement Liaison for my local school district. I previously worked with families as a Family Navigator in the Northcentral part of the state with the Wisconsin Promise grant which focused on youth transitioning from high school and supporting their families. I will be finishing up my Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work soon at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, Wausau Campus. Besides professional experience working with families and youth navigating systems, I also have years of experience personally. A little about myself: I am married with three biological children and four bonus children. In my free time, I love to enjoy Northern Wisconsin’s natural beauty by snowshoeing, hiking, or biking. 

Picture of Michelle Steffen a white woman with long hair, wearing glasses and a mulitcolor scarf with a green sweater