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School Health Program

School Health Technical Assistance and Training

The School Health Program provides technical assistance and training to Illinois school health personnel serving over 2 million school age children.  Communication is designed to keep school health providers abreast with current health requirements, communicable and infectious disease issues, current practices in management of acute and chronic disease, education and grant opportunities, changes in public health rule and law, resources available through the Illinois Department of Public Health and other state agencies.  School Health Days are held in the fall at 5 sites throughout the state.  The program maintains an email list through which information is distributed on a regular basis.

School Health Center Project

The School Health Program monitors 66 certified school health centers operating in Illinois for compliance with Title 77, Chapter V: Subchapter J, School-Based/Linked Health Centers Part 2200.  See link to the Standards and list of sites and maps in the resource list. The purpose of a school health center is to improve the overall physical and emotional health of school age children and youth by promoting healthy lifestyles and by providing accessible preventive health care.  Through early detection and treatment of chronic and acute health problems, identification of risk-taking behaviors and appropriate anticipatory guidance, treatment and referral, school health centers assure students are healthy and ready to learn.  Services provided on site include:  routine medical care for acute illness and injury, school/sports physicals, immunizations, nutrition counseling, sexually transmitted disease testing and treatment, pregnancy testing and health education.  Each local community decides which other services (i.e., drug and substance abuse counseling, mental health counseling, dental services, and family planning) will be provided on site or by referral. Students in need of care beyond what is offered at the health center are referred to specialists as needed.

Socio-Emotional and Developmental Screening

Public Act 099-0927, which covers school health examinations and immunizations, has been amended to include the requirement that all school-age children in Illinois have a health examination periodically throughout their school years. A requirement was added to complete age-appropriate social, emotional, and developmental screenings utilizing validated screening tools appropriate to the child’s age or grade. The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) has developed rules to address this amendment, which have been adopted by the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules and are now a part of the administrative code.

Certificate of Child Health Examination

Proof of socio-emotional and developmental screening will be recorded on the Certificate of Child Health Examination. IDPH is in the process of editing the Certificate of Child Health Examination to include this requirement. The goal is to complete the edits in time for the 2023-2024 school year.  Any child health exam that occurs after January 1, 2023 for the school year of 2023-2024, will need to utilize the updated child health exam form.

Validated Socio-Emotional and Developmental Screening Tools

Additionally, a system to review and post age-appropriate, validated developmental and socio-emotional screening tools for use by qualified school support personnel and health care providers is being developed.  As a part of the process to identify tools, the public is invited to submit a petition to consider a specific tool by emailing DPH.SEL@illinois.gov.

When petitioning IDPH to add a validated screening tool, the petitioner must include:

  • A complete description of the screening tool, including a sample of the tool and evidence of validation, including, but not limited to, a description of those populations, age groups, languages, and ethnicities for which the tools are validated
  • A list of the type of individuals and their credentials, who are qualified to conduct the screening
  • A list of the type of individuals and their credentials, who are qualified to interpret the screening
  • A narrative explanation of how the tool satisfies these requirements set forth in the rule
  • If the petitioner has a business interest in the tool, a disclosure of such interest
  • The petitioner's name, address, and phone number and, if the petitioner has a business interest in the tool, complete contact information for the business
  • Any additional information the petitioner wishes to include

IDPH will assess the petitions based on the required petition elements outlined in subsection (a) to determine if a proposed tool meets the requirements of the statute. Specifically, IDPH will look to ensure that there is sufficient evidence (including in peer-reviewed journals) that the tool is valid for the ages, screenings, and populations (including languages) the petitioner proposes. IDPH will also review available literature to determine whether there are peer-reviewed studies showing evidence that the tool is not valid for the ages, screenings, and populations proposed. Refer to Section 664.100 of the Administrative Code for these requirements.

Minimum Qualifications of Persons Administering Screenings in a School

Persons administering screenings in schools shall minimally be:

  • A licensed clinical social worker
  • A licensed clinical psychologist
  • A licensed physician
  • A licensed APRN
  • A licensed physician assistant

Refer to Section 664.110 of the Administrative Code for these requirements.

Frequency of Screening

Screenings are to be done in conjunction with the school physical form and the child health examination within one year prior to entering kindergarten or the first grade of any public, private, or parochial elementary school; upon entering the sixth and ninth grades of any public, private, or parochial school; prior to entrance into any public, private, or parochial preschool; and, irrespective of grade, immediately prior to or upon entrance into any public, private, or parochial school or preschool. Refer to Section 664.120 of the Administrative Code for these requirements.

Proof of Screening

Each child may present proof of having been screened to the local school authority in accordance with Section 27-8.1(2.5) of the School Code before October 15 of the school year in which screening is required. A notation of whether or not the socio-emotional and developmental screening was completed shall be recorded on the forms IDPH and the Illinois State Board of Education prescribed for statewide use. The required form is the Certificate of Child Health Examination provided by IDPH. Refer to Section 664.130 of the Administrative Code for these requirements.

Resources

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