Full-Service Community Schools Are Critical Investments for Children and Families in Poverty

Publication Date:

March 17, 2022

In Spring 2020, when schools abruptly closed due to COVID-19, millions of children in low-income communities lost access to free and reduced-price meals. Food insecurity and the risk of hunger subsequently increased for these children and their families. Full-service community schools (FSCSs)—schools that integrate social and health services, extended learning opportunities, family and community engagement, and collaborative leadership—were able to effectively provide many families in challenging financial circumstances with meals and other basic needs during the pandemic, illustrating why FSCSs are an important strategy to address poverty in the United States. The objectives and defining elements of FSCSs make them uniquely able to ameliorate conditions of poverty and extend educational opportunities to students who have been systematically marginalized through inadequate policies and societal neglect.

For more information on full-service community schools and similar conceptual models, please see Child Trends’ 2017 brief on integrated student supports.