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A young girl finds the support to heal emotional trauma at her school-based health center
*Photos reflect the spirit of CFA and are not of any individuals associated with these stories
As a new nurse practitioner with a choice of career paths, I decided on a School-Based Health Center (SBHC), because it allows me to have real impact on the health and lives of medically under-served children.
School-based health centers are at the crossroads of health and education. Their services provide a comprehensive safety net for the children and families who use them. Centers address the whole child by providing medical and mental health services that many underserved children need in order to become successful students and citizens.
One family comes immediately to mind when I think about the care it is my privilege to provide children every day. Tracy, a 4th grader, came to my office with a painful infection on her lip. While she loved school, her pain was distracting, and she was unable to concentrate on schoolwork. She was shy in our first meeting, and I soon learned that Tracy and her brother had spent much of their young lives in DCF (Department of Children & Families) care. Over the course of several appointments to manage her infection Tracy became more talkative, and eventually I was lucky enough to receive one of her beautiful smiles. Because she could receive medical care at school she never missed a day, and her Grandmother, who served as her primary care provider, did not have to miss a day of work. Over the course of our visits Tracy came to realize that she had another trusting and caring adult in her life.
Today Tracy is a thriving sixth grader! Her teachers describe her as a kind, respectful, and bright student who excels in school and in her outside social relations. Counseling from the School-Based Health Center’s mental health clinician helped her work through the trauma she’d experienced years before as a toddler when she and her brother were removed from their homes. Tracy’s grandma acknowledges the huge impact the SBHC has had on her family’s overall functioning.
Child & Family Agency operates 13 School-Based Health Centers located in New London, Groton, Stonington, and Waterford schools. SBHCs are staffed by a Certified Nurse Practitioner and Masters-prepared Mental Health Clinician who provide physical and mental health care. To learn more about CFA’s SBHCs, click here.
*At Child and Family Agency we respect everyone who comes to us for help – and many are working toward a fresh start in life. So while their stories are true, client names, identifying details, and images may have been changed to protect their privacy. Thank you for understanding.