Washington, DC — The Center for Health and Health Care in Schools (CHHCS) is pleased to announce that The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has today released a Call for Proposals for a new program: Caring for Kids: Expanding Dental and Mental Health Services through School-Based Health Centers. This new $3.4 million grant initiative is intended to increase access to dental and mental health services through expanded services organized by school-based health centers. Up to 6 dental health and up to 10 mental health projects will be funded.
Working through existing school-based health centers, this three-year initiative will support new services to address the dental and mental health needs of children and adolescents. The Call for Proposals is intended to stimulate projects that:
“This initiative is timely given the two recent reports by the Surgeon General which documented the poor access low-income children have to mental health care and dental services,” said Julia Graham Lear, director of the Center. These reports echo recommendations from the earlier Healthy People 2010 calling attention to the value of school-based programs in achieving health goals for children.
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has invested more than $40 million over 25 years to develop the school-based health center model. Currently, fewer than 10 percent of school-based health centers have dental professionals on-site. While a much higher percentage of school-based health centers (60 percent) include mental health professionals on staff, these services have been difficult to fund and not always well integrated with school and community mental health. School-based health centers have become an excellent vehicle for reaching those children at highest risk and the least access to care because centers are primarily located in schools that serve large number of these children. Caring for Kids encourages school-based health centers to develop and refine models for dental and mental health services.