School-based health centers are critical for supporting child and adolescent health and student success. But, unlike many other states, California has never provided state funding for this proven model, which could bring effective integrated physical and behavioral health care to many more students.
However, California is heavily investing in the community schools model and school-based health centers complement community schools by addressing whole child needs and bringing reliable, affordable, quality health care services to students and their families in an accessible and coordinated way.
In 2021 California passed a state budget with unprecedented investments in child and youth behavioral health, with a focus on school-based services and supports, and these investments are becoming available this year. All of these investments are one-time funding, so they must be leveraged to build new infrastructure and partnerships with a focus on sustaining investments after the funding ends.