School-Based Health Center Program

About School-Based Health Centers

The legislation defines a SBHC as “a collaboration between the community, the school, and a  sponsoring [healthcare] agency that operates the school-based health center, which is a student-focused health center located in or adjacent to a school that provides integrated medical, behavioral health, and other health care services such as dental care.” The healthcare sponsor can be a community clinic, hospital, healthcare system, public health department, locally controlled tribal health clinic, and/or tribal health program.

Washington State’s first SBHC program began in Seattle in 1989. Today, there are over 65 SBHCs by more than 25 health care sponsors throughout the state. You can find more information on SBHCs on the Washington School-Based Health Alliance website.

Expanding School-Based Health Centers

The Washington State Legislature passed Substitute House Bill 1225 in 2021. The new law (RCW 43.70.825) directs the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) to establish a school-based health center (SBHC) program to expand and sustain the availability of SBHCs to students in public schools, with a focus on communities and populations who have been historically underserved.

See the Grant Information page for more details.

Improving Access to Behavioral Health Care

In 2021, DOH requested additional support for the new SBHC Program to respond to the growing mental and behavioral health needs of young people. This included a request for funding to expand and improve behavioral health screening, referral and care for adolescents and transition-­age youth in both academic and non­academic settings, including in SBHCs.

See the Behavioral Health SBHC Grant Information page for more details.

Resources