What is a school-based health center (SBHC)?
A partnership created by schools and community health organizations to provide on-site medical, mental health, and/or oral health services that promote the health and educational success of school-aged children and adolescents.
- One of the partners becomes the sponsoring agency, usually a school system or a health agency (community health center, local health department, hospital, mental health agency, or non profit agency)
- Services provided by the school-based health care team are determined locally through a collaborative process that includes families and students, communities, school districts, and individual and agency health care providers.
- The school-based health care team works in collaboration with school nurses and other service providers in the school and community and has a policy on parental consent.
- The unique location in the school and easy access to students enables the health center team to reach out to students to emphasize prevention and early intervention.
- SBHCs are typically open every school day, and staffed by an interdisciplinary team of medical and mental health professionals that provide comprehensive medical, mental health and health education services. (Although the model may vary based on availability of resources and community need)
- Services typically offered in SBHCs are age appropriate and address the most important health needs of children and youth. SBHCs make provision for care beyond the centers’ operating hours or scope of service.
Services may include but are not limited to:
- primary care for acute and chronic health conditions
- mental health services
- substance abuse services
- case management
- dental health services
- reproductive health care
- nutrition education
- health education and health promotion.