The ICF-CY is part of the WHO International Classification System.

 TheInternational Classification of Functioning, Disability, and Health, Children and Youth (ICF-CY) is the first global, multidisciplinary classification system for children's health.

How can the ICF-CY be used?

The ICF-CY can be used across ALL fields that support children’s health, development, and functioning including medicine, education, psychology, speech and language, physical therapy, occupational therapy, special education, social work. For example....

World Health Organization: International Classification of Functioning, Disability & Health, Children and Youth (ICF-CY)

Copyright WHO ICF-CY Developmental Code Sets (Ellingsen, K. M & Simeonsson, R. J.,  2011). All rights reserved.


​​It provides a common framework and language to document functioning at the body, person, and society levels for children up to seventeen years old. ​

ICF-CY Developmental Code Sets

  • ​​Clinically: to assess child strengths and needs, evaluate change and progress over time, prioritize child and family treatment areas at intake, and document intervention outcomes.

  • Research:to measure study outcomes, document treatment impact, and examine environmental factors on functioning at home, school and in the community, measure disability prevalence rates across disciplines, states, or countries.

  • Policy: as a common framework and universal language to guide program standards, identify priority public health, education, early intervention and mental health law and funding needs.​

  • Statistically: for disability surveillance or to collect data for population surveys and collect administration information.

The ICF-CY provides a profile of functioning for children with impairments or problems at each level, reflecting a shift in focus from problems within a child to the daily functioning or quality of life as measured by participation in daily life activities and situations influenced by environmental factors.

Documenting child HEALTH. 
understanding FUNCTIONAL consequences of disease &  disability.
providing a universal framework and advancing a global classification system.

​It provides an inclusive framework to conceptualize and document children’s health, functioning and behavior for ALL children including those with a diagnosed disability or chronic health condition.

​​​​What are the  ICF-CY Developmental Code Sets?

Application of the ICF-CY is important to unify data on child health status, but the complexity and time required to use it limits its feasibility. 


The ICF-CY Developmental Code Sets (Ellingsen & Simeonsson, 2011) are intended to serve as a universal reference for minimal information to collect about child functioning in research, clinical practice, and policy for application in a global multidisciplinary context. 

​The four age based ICF-CY Developmental Code Sets are for children: (1) Birth-2, (2) 3-5 years, (3) 6-12, and (4) 13-17 years. 

To advance the use of the ICF-CY,  The ICF-CY Developmental Code Sets (Ellingsen & Simeonsson, 2011) were created by consensus by 151 international experts from 27 countries representing all major areas of the world. 

The four age-based essential "core items" code sets can be downloaded for free on the CODE SETS page.

​​​The ICF-CY provides a standard for classifying dimensions of functioning and disability regardless of underlying cause (Simeonsson, 2009).