Michigan's Children Advocates for Improved School-Based Health Services

Public funding of school-based health clinics is the theme selected for this year's Budget Watch, a publication prepared by the state-wide child advocacy group Michigan's Children to inform policymakers, legislature and care providers of the state's budget allocations for children's services and to promote public involvement in the budget process for the benefit of children.

The report, "Health Youth: An Assessment of State Investments in School-Based/School Linked Health Services," was released during a recent news conference at Western International Teen Health Center in Detroit to raise awareness about health concerns for children and youth in Michigan, and more specifically Detroit.

Sharon Claytor Peters, president of Michigan's Children, supports schools as the most logical place to provide regular and basic health and mental health services for children. School-based health services play a major role in reducing the risky behaviors of youth by providing comprehensive services in a convenient location. And, because the needs of children vary between communities, school-based health centers can tailor the services according to the clientele.

Less than half of Michigan's school-based health centers receive state funding. Money also comes from local hospitals, foundations and other funding sources. Partnering with Michigan's Children were Henry Ford Health System, School-Community Health Alliance of Michigan, The Skillman Foundation and community partners in Southwest Detroit, who were present to support the data released and recommendations to continue and increase providing health services for youth in the school based centers.

The School Community Health Alliance report listed several reasons to support school-based and school-linked health centers.

  • They are an efficient way to deliver care and are open 5 days a week, year-round.
  • They offer better use of preventive care for immunized children.
  • They effectively address public and community health issues.
  • They strengthen school performance; on site care as opposed to sending the child home for care.
  • They reduce barriers to learning by keeping students in school, offering counseling and support for both the student and the student’s family, if necessary.
  • It is a cost effective project, saving the state and communities money by reducing emergency room costs to treat uninsured and under-insured children.

For more information on Michigan's Children, check www.michiganschildren.org.