On August 3, The Children's Trust started its HealthConnect conference, a three-day training event to help prepare more than 340 school nurses, social workers and mental health professionals for the upcoming school year. These health professionals who work on the front lines of health care and mental wellness for students, came together to learn the latest information related to social emotional wellness, school safety, and much more. Day one of the event took place at Ronald W. Reagan Doral Senior High School, through a partnership with Miami-Dade County Public Schools. The last two days of training took place virtually.
The Children’s Trust invests $16.25 million annually to fund health professionals who work in the Miami-Dade County Public Schools-based clinics. This conference ensures that school-based clinical staff members have the most current training and are prepared for the opening of schools this month.
A collaborative partnership between The Children’s Trust, Miami-Dade County Public Schools and the Florida Department of Health in Miami-Dade County enables six health care agencies to provide nursing, social work and mental health services in about half of all public elementary, K-8, middle and senior high schools. The clinics serve an average of 112,000 students every school year.
"Sometimes children become ill in school, or perhaps they lack access to basic medical screenings for things like vision and hearing, and these factors directly affect a child's ability to perform well in school," said President & CEO of The Children's Trust, James R. Haj. "Our strategy ensures significant investment to increase access to services on-site at schools, where students need them."
School nurse Eduardo Barrio, who works with Nicklaus Children’s Hospital says this initiative is critical for kids to have access to care.
"We’re starting to expand (students’) services throughout the community, especially for kids that really need the help because sometimes they don’t have doctors, they don’t have access to any sort of medical professional and we are the ones that are here as a resource,” said Barrio.
The six funded health care agencies providing services in school-based clinics are Borinquen Health Care Center, Citrus Health Network, Jessie Trice Community Health Center, Community Health of South Florida, Nicklaus Children’s Hospital and University of Miami. To learn more about The Children’s Trust funded health teams in schools, visit www.TheChildrensTrust.org/HealthTeamsInSchools.
Chief Public Policy & Community Engagement Officer, The Children’s Trust