The World Health Organization's (WHO) International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health, Children and Youth (ICF-CY)
ICF-CY Developmental Code Sets



The ICF-CY is the first universal classification system of child health and disability.

It provides a common framework and language to document functioning at the body, person, and society levels for children  up to seventeen years of age. It has multiple purposes such as use in policy planning, surveillance, and documentation of intervention outcomes.

The World Health Organization (WHO) Member States endorsed the
International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) as a framework for measuring health and disability on May 22, 2001 ( 

Guided by a biopsychosocial conceptualization, the ICF was designed to provide a common standard classification system of adult health and health-related domains including codes which represent
functioning at
the body, person, and society levels. 
In 2007 the WHO published a derived classification system from the ICF specifically for children and youth (i.e., the ICF-CY).

The ICF-CY is also the first unifying framework that attempts to describe the effects of context on child functioning and includes several environmental factors to examine as facilitators or barriers when recording profiles of child functioning.

Thus, child health status, developmental characteristics, manifestations of disabilities, and involvement in everyday activities can be examined within the unique context of a child's social and physical environment. The ICF-CY is available to order ( and free to access in an online format (


Because the ICF-CY is a comprehensive taxonomy of health comprised of 1600 codes for children of all ages, application of this tool is challenging. 

While the implications of the ICF-CY for research, practice, and policy are vast, but the expansive content and relative complexity of the system have made efficient application difficult.


Development of ICF-CY age-based reduced item code sets were created to define
standard minimum content areas to document child functioning as one strategy to
increase the utility of the ICF-CY in clinical and research settings.

In 2010, an international study was conducted to derive reduced item developmental code sets from the ICF-CY (Ellingsen, K. E. & Simeonsson, R. J).  Professionals from 27 countries and more than 13 disciplines participated in the study to help create four age based reduced item sets from the ICF-CY.

Professionals from major regions of the world participated in a three-round Delphi procedure, prioritizing ICF-CY codes for four different age groups. Age-based reduced item sets were developed by consensus from a diverse international group of experts.Initial surveys were developed fromICF-CY field trial work in Sweden (Björck-Åkesson, Granlund, & Ibragimovaand, 2005) and I-CY-HAB forms 1-3 developed at Mälardalen University (Adolfsson, Pless, Ibragimova, Granlund, & Bjorck-Akesson, 2007). 
The derived ICF-CY Developmental Code Sets included agreed upon essential codes from the domains of Activities/Participation, Body Functions and Environmental Factors.


The ICF-CY Developmental Code Sets are now available for your review (pages 1-4).


If you would like to use these tools in research or practice, please cite accordingly (Ellingsen, K. M. & Simeonsson, R. J. (2011) and email the primary investigator for permission and to share how they will be used at the email below.


Thank you,

Kirsten M. Ellingsen, PhD

Rune J Simeonsson, PhD, MSPH

PDF files of the ICF-CY Developmental Code Sets can also be downloaded from this site via links at the bottom of each page with items formatted as CHECKLISTS.
(Please note, these include minor changes & editing to clarify items based on original definitions).

These have also been translated into several langauges. Please contact the PI for more information.
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