In 2020, Kaiser Permanente convened a group of national organizations to form the National School Health Collaborative (NSHC). The NSHC’s vision is to fundamentally shift how school health is integrated into—and supported within—school, district, state, and federal policies and programs to more directly improve student and staff health, particularly for those who have faced systemic barriers to receiving necessary supports and services.

As a first step in accomplishing this vision, Kaiser Permanente tasked Child Trends with comprehensively mapping how the U.S. federal government currently defines, funds, and supports school health. Specifically, Child Trends conducted a systemic review of federal programs, initiatives, and funding streams that support school health work to answer the following research questions:

  • What federal agencies support school health initiatives? To what degree do those agencies have formal working relationships?
  • How does federal funding for school health advance the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child framework? How do programs overlap and/or present competing objectives?
  • How do federal school health efforts target improving outcomes among groups that have faced systemic inequities?

We identified 10 formal interagency groups, 13 formula grant programs, 91 discretionary grant programs, and 67 technical assistance centers and initiatives that supported school health from 2010 to 2020. Key findings include the following:

Key findings