What is School-Based Health Care?

School-based health care is provided through school and community health organization partnerships and collaboration with school administration and health services staff. This care includes but is not limited to primary care, mental health, oral health, and vision services. This care complements, not replaces or duplicates, existing school health services. The usual governing entity of school-based health care is a community healthcare organization. The legal authority governing health data and privacy is the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

School-based health centers (SBHCs) offer the most comprehensive type of school-based health care. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Community Preventive Services Task Force recommends school-based health centers (SBHCs) as an evidence-based model that improves educational and health outcomes. SBHCs provide the nation’s vulnerable children and youth access to primary care, behavioral health, oral health, and vision care where they spend most of their time – at school. Working at the intersection of health and education, SBHCs collaborate with school districts, principals, teachers, school staff, families, and students. The collaboration, care coordination, and youth engagement results in improved outcomes and health literacy for students, school staff, and the community. The collaboration also contributes to positive education outcomes, including reduced absenteeism, decreased disciplinary actions and suspensions, and improved graduation rates. SBHCs advocate for the needs of low-income children, youth, and families, provide them with a safe haven and serve as a protective factor that reduces poor health and education outcomes. Most SBHCs operate with an external community medical sponsoring agency in partnership with the Local Education Agency.

How do Schools Support Student Health?

see infographic

About School-Based Health Care Services

Mental Health

Learn more

Primary Care

Learn more

Oral Health

Learn more

Social Determinants of Health

Learn more

Health Equity

Learn more

Youth Development

Our Stories

These six compelling stories will allow you to experience SBHC through the eyes of our children and youth.

Video Library

Produced by our state affiliates and school-based health funders, these videos offer a quick synopsis of SBHC services, benefits, and outcomes.