School-Based Health Care Continues to Grow in CA

De Anza High School Health Center OpeningSchool-based health care continues to grow in California with more services for students and more places of access.  There are now 231 school-based health centers (SBHCs) providing high-quality health care to students. Across California, more than 242,000 students attend a school that has a health center, and many more have access to other types of school health services.

This is more than double the number a decade ago. Of the 231 SBHCs, 148 offer mental health care, 52 offer dental treatment, and 87 offer youth engagement programs that keep kids connected to school and thinking about their future.

The biggest growth in services in 2014 are with dental prevention (offered at 42% of sites), reproductive health screening and education (at 70% of sites), youth engagement (at 38% of sites), and mental health services (now at 64% of sites). The California School-Based Health Alliance has made it a priority to help school districts expand mental health services this year.

SBHCs are so popular because they offer convenient health care for kids in a setting families already know and trust.

Students who utilize SBHCs are less likely to go to the emergency room or be hospitalized, keeping costs down. SBHCs also improve attendance, reduce dropout rates, improve school climate, and support students’ academic achievement. Schools and school districts partner with health service providers to finance SBHCs.

More Information on California’s SBHCs

There are 231 SBHCs serving 242,000 students across California. SBHCs are usually located directly on a school campus and provide primary care like any health clinic. Staff vary in size, and typically includes nurse practitioners, nurses, mental health providers, as well as part-time physicians and medical students. Services are provided at no or low cost. No one is refused service for inability to pay.

Services Offered

Service Number Percentage
Medical 200
Reproductive Health – Screening and Education 161 70%
Health Education 141 61%
Mental Health 148 64%
Reproductive Health – Clinical Care 127 55%
Dental Treatment 52 23%
Dental Prevention 97
Nutrition/Fitness 77
Youth Engagement 87 38%


Sponsoring Org Types

Type of Sponsoring Organization Number Percentage
Community Clinic 125 54% 
School District 64 28% 
Local Health Department 12 5%
Hospital 9
Nonprofit Organization 12
Mental Health Agency 7 3%
University,  Including Medical Center 1
Tribal Government 1 .4%


Onsite SBHC Location Level 

School Level Number Percentage
High School 94 40%
Elementary School 57 25%
Middle School 23 10%
Other (school-linked/mobile/combined levels) 57 25%