Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), recently announced the availability of funding for the construction and renovation of school-based health centers. These new investments, totaling up to $75 million, are part of the School-Based Health Center Capital (SBHCC) program, which was created by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

The centers enable children with acute or chronic illnesses to attend school as well as help to improve the overall health and wellness of children and adolescents through health screenings, health promotion, and disease prevention activities. By making the connection to health care easy, school-based health centers ensure that children have access to the services they need to lead healthy lives.

“President Obama’s health care law is helping keep kids healthy, and as a mother, I know how important a child’s health is to how they do in school,” said Secretary Sebelius. “Whether establishing a new site or upgrading an existing facility, the availability of funding for school-based health centers will help kids more easily get the health services they need to thrive. The goal is to keep our children healthy so they can learn, grow, and prosper.”

The Affordable Care Act appropriated $200 million for the SBHCC program to address capital needs in school-based health centers. This funding opportunity is the third in a series of awards that will be made available to school-based health centers through the Affordable Care Act. The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), a part of HHS, oversees the SBHCC program.

“It is critical for children and adolescents to be healthy so they can maximize their potential, and being healthy starts with access to primary and preventive care,” said HRSA Administrator Mary K. Wakefield, Ph.D., R.N. “These grants will greatly improve that access and help make our children, and America’s future, strong.”

For more information about HRSA and its programs, visit www. hrsa.gov. For more information about Affordable Care Act investments in community health centers, visit www.healthcare.gov.