School-Based Health Centers in Chicago: Current Status and Challenges for the Future
Chicago is a leader in the school-based health center movement, with 32 centers operating in schools in the city and suburbs. These centers provide physical, psycho-social, and mental health services and health education to thousands of underserved children and adolescents. They are partnerships between schools, health departments, and local providers, supported by a patchwork of funding streams. Their future sustainability and effectiveness depend on the commitment of sponsoring organizations, funders, and public entities.
In 2004 the Health Trust, at the request of its Grants Committee, commissioned a report to inform future funding of school-based health centers. Committee members were concerned about the sustainability of existing centers and the need for new ones. They wanted to know what criteria should guide funding decisions, and what other roles the Health Trust might play in helping centers to be effective and financially viable. The report offers an overview of school-based health centers nationally, a report on the status of those centers in Chicago, viewpoints and suggestions from interviews with leaders in the field, and a summary of key issues to inform decision-making.
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