Dates of Program: February 2001 through August 2005
Field of Work: Strengthen the well-being of children and youth through health programs and health care services in schools, particularly dental and mental health care services.
Problem Synopsis: When this program began in 2001, the greatest unmet health care needs of low-income and minority youth were dental and mental health care. Some 80 percent of untreated dental disease in permanent teeth was found in about 25 percent of children aged 5–17 years, mostly among low-income and other vulnerable children, according to Oral Health in America: A Report of the Surgeon General, 2000).
Children born with low birthweight, who have a family history of mental and addictive disorders, whose families have lived in poverty for several generations or who have experienced caregiver separation, abuse or neglect are at greater risk for mental disorders and mental health problems than other children, according to Mental Health: A Report of the Surgeon General, 1999).
Synopsis of the Work: The Center for Health and Health Care in Schools located at George Washington University (Washington) began serving as a nonpartisan policy and program resource center in 2001. As part of its work, it managed Caring for Kids: Expanding Dental and Mental Health Services through School-Based Health Centers.
From February 2001 through August 2005, the Center for Health and Health Care in Schools served as a resource center (primarily Web-based) on school health services for school nurses, staff of school-based health centers, school administrators, teachers, researchers, parents and school children.
Caring for Kids provided technical assistance to eight projects in seven states that expanded mental health services in 17 schools, and seven projects in six states that provided dental services in 17 schools. The project were implemented with funding from RWJF.
In recognition of its role in school health, the center received the 2005 Uskhow Community Service Award from the American Academy of Pediatrics' School Health Council.
Increasing and Sustaining School Mental Health Services
The Center for Health and Health Care in Schools conducted research and analysis to explore strategies to increase the number, quality, and sustainability of school mental health services and programs.