What is School-Based Health Care?

School-based health care programs are partnerships between schools and health care providers. Their objective: give students meaningful access to care in a location that is safe and convenient.

These partnerships are uniquely situated to bring health care professionals and educators together to address the multifaceted needs of children, youth, and families. Some serve only students, while others also serve family members or the broader community surrounding the school.

Programs offer a range of services with the most common being primary medical services. School-based health programs are as individual as the clients they serve and are supported by many communities because they respond to local needs. Local school boards give final approval over what services are provided. The “who” of the care team may vary, based on complexity of students’ needs and availability of community resources. Some sites may have one primary care practitioner. Others offer a robust array of medical, nursing, and mental health staff – even oral and eye health. No matter the configuration, the team brings its expertise, resources and authority to improve the physical, social, emotional and behavioral health of students.