MASBHC Secures Most Significant Legislative Advancement For School-Based Health Care In Decades

The Maryland Assembly on School-Based Health Care (MASBHC) led a successful campaign to secure a huge step forward in funding for school-based health centers and school health in the 2019 legislative session.  In the just enacted Senate Bill 1030 – The Blueprint for Maryland’s Future, the Maryland General Assembly has set aside approximately $50 million over the next two years for school-based health centers and school health for schools with a high concentration of poverty. Each qualified school will receive $248,000 for community school coordinators and primary care clinicians in school-based health centers and school health roles. The bill now heads to the Governor’s desk for his review and signature.

The 2019 legislation is just a down payment.  MASBHC has paved the way for additional funding expected in 2020 legislation.  That funding could potentially quadruple the state’s investment in school-based health center grants. “MASBHC has been cultivating the Maryland General Assembly’s commitment to school-based health centers and school health initiatives, and our hard work has paid off.  I’ve never seen this level of interest and investment in school-based health centers. It is unprecedented,” said Dr. Patryce Toye, President of MASBHC.

MASBHC saw an opening to advocate for additional resources with the establishment of the Kirwan Commission, also known as the Maryland Commission on Innovation & Excellence in Education, in 2017.  The Commission has been evaluating the need for additional K-12 education funding. “MASBHC recognized the opportunity right away to highlight the importance of school-based health centers in education,” says Donna Behrens, Chair of MASBHC’s Policy Committee.  “We have been working on the ground since Day 1 to secure this victory. Our thanks goes to the many members of MASBHC who helped make this happen.”

Please stay tuned.  MASBHC will be providing opportunities to learn more about the 2019 victory and plans for 2020.  If you would like be a part of MASBHC’s ongoing work, please join our Kirwan Action Committee by notifying Rachael Faulkner at (410) 693-4000 or rfaulkner@policypartners.net.

MASBHC closes the 2019 session with condolences to the family and community of Speaker Mike Busch, as we mourn his passing on Sunday.   Speaker Busch left Maryland a better place with his legacy of commitment to health care access and education for all Marylanders.

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School-Based Health Alliance Urges Trump Administration to End Policy of Separating Families at U.S. Border

Over the past several months, the federal government has forcibly separated thousands of young children from their parents and adult caregivers at the US-Mexico border as part of the Trump Administration’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy. This includes families who legally present themselves at an official border crossing to seek asylum in the U.S.  President Trump asserts repeatedly that he is not responsible for this policy and is unable to fix it, citing a law passed by Congressional Democrats. The news media and policy experts have refuted both claims. What is true is that this Administration is using children as leverage to advance its immigration agenda.

Separating children from their adult caregivers as a government policy is cruel, inhumane and immoral. It is also reckless and disastrous policy for children’s mental health and well-being.

Dr. Colleen Kraft, pediatrician and President of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), recently visited a detention center in Texas that houses migrant children separated from their parents. She noted that while basic needs such as food, shelter, and diaper changes were being met, workers at the center were instructed not to pick up or touch the children.

Imagine you are a young child who has recently made the arduous and uncertain journey from your home country to the U.S. border, likely fleeing due to traumatic conditions and violence, only to be forcibly separated from the only sense of comfort and security you know. You are in a foreign place, you don’t speak the language, you don’t know if you will ever see your parents again and there is no adult who is allowed to physically comfort you.

We don’t have to imagine what the lifelong impact of this kind of trauma might be: public health research tells us. The prolonged stress of being held in detention without the protective buffering of a parent or caring adult relationship can lead to a toxic stress response in children. Toxic stress disrupts brain and organ development, significantly increasing the risk for physical and behavioral health problems into adulthood, including heart disease, diabetes, substance abuse, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. And then there are the long term impacts that are less measurable: a child’s sense of justice, of right and wrong, and their ability to trust.

Immigration policy is complicated. Meeting the basic mental health needs of children is not. It is unspeakably cruel to sacrifice the latter as a political strategy to advance the former.”


The School-Based Health Alliance stands with our national partners, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Public Health Association, the American Psychological Association and others in aggressively opposing the separation of families at the border. We urge the Trump Administration to end this unnecessary and harmful policy.

For more information, please contact Senior Policy and Program Manager Suzanne Mackey

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February is School Based Health Care Awareness Month

February is National School Based Health Care Awareness Month!

MASBHC wants you to help us spread the word

Tweet/Post about SBHC Awareness month during the month of Feburary, using the hashtag #SBHCmonth18 and tagging MASBHC (Twitter or Facebook).

The Top two organizations that tweet/post the most will win the following prizes:

For ideas on posts and other ways to get involved in SBHC Awareness Month visit the School Based Health Alliance’s.

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