School-based behavioral health (SBBH) services play a vital role safeguarding the well-being of children
and youth across the nation. The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act (“BSCA”, P.L. 117–159) and Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2023 (“CAA”, P.L. 117-328), passed into law during 2022, included numerous provisions to support SBBH services. In the months following passage, Nemours Children’s interviewed more than 40 national, state and local stakeholders to identify opportunities to maximize implementation of these provisions.

Building on these conversations, more than 150 key stakeholders convened virtually on May 9, 2023, to
identify innovations, challenges and policy recommendations for federal agencies, states and philanthropic organizations. Convening participants included national pediatric and behavioral health organizations, state and local education agencies, philanthropic organizations, federal officials and other stakeholders involved in SBBH.

Since the convening, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) took two important steps, as required by BSCA. On May 18, 2023, CMS released guidance to make it easier for schools to receive payment for Medicaid-covered services. Soon after, CMS launched a technical assistance center (TAC) to assist state and local stakeholders focused on expanding access to Medicaid-funded physical and behavioral health services.

Informed by these efforts, this brief provides an overview of SBBH services and funding sources, information on challenges and gaps, and recommendations for the TAC, states and philanthropy. A companion brief, “Fostering School-Based Health Services: Innovative & Promising Models, Policies and Practices from Across the Nation,” describes effective models of Medicaid billing and best practices for effective programs.

Download Fostering School-Based Behavioral Health Services-  Innovative and Promising Models, Policies and Practices From Across the Nation

Download Fostering School-Based Behavioral Health Services Key Recommendations for Policymakers and Philanthropy