The Future of SBHCs As a School Reform: Issues and Recommendations
This chapter explores major issues that still confront many school-based health centers (SBHCs) as they continue to grow and develop. These issues include financial support, adding mental health services, dealing with sexual orientation, the 'gender gap' in providing services, the neglect of needy Latino students, underutilized resources, accountability, and contending with racial barriers. SBHCs have grown dramatically over the past decade, from approximately 200 in 1990 to almost 1,400 in 2000. Recent developments have made state coffers the ideal place to look for enhanced funding for SBHCs. With the enactment of the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) in 1997, the federal government made available $40 billion over ten years for states to provide health care coverage for millions of uninsured children. School-based clinic providers claim that mental health counseling is the greatest unmet need among students. Estimates from the Department of Health and Human Services reveal that mental health problems affect approximately 20 percent of youth.