LACEF-backed legislation to expand mental health services at school health centers to aid students coping with incidents of violence advances in State Capitol
Summary: California students struggling to cope with shootings, gang violence and other traumatic events today have a rising hope of receiving critical mental health counseling at their school-based health center with state Assembly Health Committee passage of LACEF-sponsored legislation authored by Oakland Assemblymember Rob Bonta.
LACEF strongly supports passage of Bonta’s bill as part of our ‘L.A. County Campaign for School Health Centers’ launched this year and our $3 million ‘Stay Well Learn Well® School Health Center Initiative’ unveiled in 2011
AB 174 will promote the health, academic achievement, and overall well-being of California’s young people by creating a grant program to fund school-based mental health and related services for students who have been impacted by trauma.
Why does California (LA County) need AB 174 now?
Summary – Since they were first established in the 1980s, California’s school-based health centers (SBHCs) have been an important part of the safety net, providing access to health care to thousands of underserved children and adolescents who may otherwise have gone without care.
California’s SBHCs offer a range of primary care services, such as screenings, immunizations, and physicals. Many also play an important role in managing students’ chronic illnesses, such as asthma and diabetes. Some SBHCs offer reproductive health services, play an important role in mental health and youth development, and provide dental services.
California currently has 200 SBHCs, with over 40 new centers in development. More than 250,000 children in grades K-12 have access to a school-based health center.
Issue – Trauma has short-term and long-term consequences and AB 174 seeks to address the lack of current law focused explicitly on preventing and addressing students’ trauma-related needs through school-based services within California.
Solution – AB 174’s creation of a grant program for these centers that focuses specifically on services for students who have suffered trauma has the potential to improve the health, academic achievement and life outcomes among California children.
- AB 174 Fact Sheet
- LACEF Press Release
- Assembly Committee Appropriations Analysis of AB 174
- Assembly Committee on Health Analysis of AB 174
- California School Health Center Association (co-sponsor) – mission is to improve the health and academic success of children and youth by advancing health services in schools. We envision a day when all of California’s children and youth are healthy and achieving at their full potential. For more information click here.
- California Pan-Ethnic Health Network (co-sponsor) – mission is to eliminate health disparities by advocating for public policies and sufficient resources to address the health needs of communities of color. For more information click here.
- Los Angeles Sentinel
- On Central
- Mark Ridley-Thomas
- Healthy Cal.org
- California School Health Center Association
- AB 174 (Bonta), the school trauma school health centers proposal that California Health Centers Association and California Pan Ethnic Health Network (CPEN) co-sponsored, moved out of the Assembly Appropriations Committee as an Alameda County one-year pilot to be implemented at 10 schools and b) that all administrative (i.e., non-state) costs must be paid by a non-state source. Next step is to be voted on in front of Assembly.
Sign on to our letter of support!
Subject: Support AB 174 (Bonta) – Public School Health Centers
Please support AB 174 (Bonta) the Public School Health Center and Youth Trauma Act. AB 174 will promote the health, academic achievement, and overall well-being of California’s young people by creating a grant program to fund school-based mental health and related services for students who have been impacted by trauma.
Trauma has serious consequences for health, educational achievement, and long-term wellbeing. Trauma has been defined as “experiences or situations that are emotionally painful and distressing, and that overwhelm an individuals’ ability to cope,” as well as “chronic adversity (e.g., discrimination, racism, oppression, poverty).
Children and youth of color in low-income neighborhoods are disproportionately exposed to trauma, including gun violence. Twenty percent of California children with family incomes below $25,000 feel unsafe in their neighborhoods, compared to just 1.6% of California children with family incomes above $125,000.
The likelihood of boys and young men suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is 2.5 times greater among African Americans and 4.1 times greater among Latinos, compared to Caucasians.
SBHCs have been shown to be an effective model for increasing access to health services by putting them in a location that is trusted and convenient for students and families.
Across California, many children and youth cannot access the care they need to address chronic health conditions, treat mental health problems or get a check-up or prescription. SBHCs address this gap by putting medical, mental health and/or dental care on school grounds in disadvantaged communities.
AB 174’s creation of a grant program for these centers that focuses specifically on services for students who have suffered trauma has the potential to improve the health, academic achievement and life outcomes among California children.
We urge your “aye” vote when this measure comes before you.