Kelsey Dimar
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Statement by Dr. Terry Brooks, executive director of Kentucky Youth Advocates

Today, the Cabinet for Health and Family Services announced its amendment to the state’s Medicaid plan to allow districts to utilize federal Medicaid funding to expand school-based health services and connect more Kentucky students with the preventive health and behavioral health services they need. That is no mere regulatory revision; it is a game changer for kids and the role that schools play in their lives.

The importance of preventive health and behavioral health services is undeniable as is the wisdom of placing those services in schools to maximize access. Ensuring children have those services not only positively impacts health, it is a catalyst to better academic achievement and even better school environment.

Superintendents, principals, and teachers have long recognized the potential of school-based health services, but the fiscal impact has been a consistent and daunting barrier to overcome. CHFS’s decision to submit this amendment dramatically removes that barrier and opens the door for Kentucky’s schools to deliver these vital services in a high-quality, high-access, and systemic manner.

We applaud CHFS for making the most of the opportunity to leverage federal funds to provide much-needed health services to any student who is enrolled in Medicaid right in the school setting, such as comprehensive health screenings, therapeutic counseling for students who have experienced trauma, and more.

This action will give vital energy to the behavioral health components of the recently passed School Safety and Resiliency Act. We know that educators will seize this opportunity in the immediate and we know that means a better day for Kentucky’s children!


About Kentucky Youth Advocates
Kentucky Youth Advocates believes all children deserve to be safe, healthy, and secure. As THE independent voice for Kentucky’s children, we work to ensure policymakers create investments and policies that are good for children. Learn more at