McKee Administration Announces $2.5 Million in Federal Funds Awarded for Children’s Health Services in Schools

Published on Monday, July 01, 2024

Cranston, R.I. - Governor Dan McKee, Rhode Island Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS) Secretary Richard Charest, Medicaid Director Kristin Sousa and Rhode Island Education Commissioner Angélica Infante-Green announced that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has awarded Rhode Island $2.5 million, over 3 years, for Children’s Based Services.

“This new funding opportunity will help Rhode Island tackle the mental health crisis we are facing and expand access to health care services, directly in schools,” said Governor Dan McKee. “We are grateful to the Biden-Harris administration for this funding opportunity, which reflects a whole-of-government approach to meet families where they are and helps to ensure children have access to services they need.”

“This award reflects our commitment to work with our partners in education to connect more children to critical health care services, including for mental health, in their schools,” said EOHHS Secretary Richard Charest. “We look forward to working together to get these funds out in service of Rhode Island youth.”

“The Medicaid program is a partnership between the state and Federal governments,” said Medicaid Director Kristin Sousa. “We will utilize these funds to allow schools to provide more services to children and support their wellbeing, mental health and safety.”

Although schools are primarily providers of education-related activities, the school setting offers a unique opportunity to enroll children in Medicaid and facilitate access to coverage as well as provide health services directly to any Medicaid enrolled children. Schools provide a venue to enhance early identification of health needs and connect students to a broad range of health care services, including behavioral health resources.

“School-based services play an important role in the health of children and adolescents,” said Commissioner Infante-Green. “RIDE is committed to supporting the whole child and share our gratitude with our state and federal partners working tirelessly to ensure our students and families have the resources they need to thrive.” 

"Many Rhode Island educators and families have shared with me the mental health struggles that young people are facing in schools. That is why I worked so hard to help pass the 2022 Bipartisan Safer Communities Act law to improve school-based health services and create the pot of funding enabling the Secretary of the Health and Human Services to award these grants to states," said U.S. Senator Jack Reed.

“Rhode Island students are best situated to reach their academic potential when they’re healthy and supported,” said U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse.  “I’m pleased to help deliver this funding from our Bipartisan Safer Communities Act to better identify student health needs and connect kids to a broad range of health care services in a school setting, including behavioral health resources.”

“We need to do everything we can to set the next generation up for success, and that includes investing in education and expanding access to health care services that students depend on,” said Congressman Seth Magaziner. “This federal funding will help provide mental health and counseling services, and ensure students in Rhode Island have the resources they need to thrive.”

“Schools not only play a crucial role in providing education, they also play a critical role in promoting the health and well-being of students,” said Congressman Gabe Amo. “Today’s federal investment in our state will help schools and teachers connect students to a broad range of health care services — including specialists, dental care and vision care. Through counseling services and early interventions, it will also help address students’ behavioral health to ensure that Rhode Island’s youth receive timely access to necessary services.”

“The school-based services that this funding supports are crucial to the well-being and development of children,” said CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure. “This funding also emphasizes the essential partnership between CMS and schools, and our shared commitment to ensuring health care is accessible to kids where they are – in school. This partnership is uniquely positioned to help reduce disparities, promote achievement, and build a reliable system of support for our nation’s youth. Medicaid and CHIP cover more than 39 million children – nearly half of our country’s children. Through targeted support to provide essential resources, innovative programs, and an environment where children can thrive, CMS is proud to work with state partners to invest in our children’s future and a brighter, more prosperous society for us all.”

From Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra on the Anniversary of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act

Over the last several years, our nation's young people have faced unprecedented challenges, including the scourge of gun violence, social isolation, and other repercussions from a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic. These challenges have had devastating effects on their mental health and well-being.

The Biden-Harris Administration has worked tirelessly to tackle this crisis by making mental health resources and supports more widely available to children and young people. At the heart of this work is the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act (BSCA), which President Biden signed into law two years ago today. BSCA, the most significant gun safety legislation signed in nearly 30 years, has made it possible to use Medicaid and CHIP fund to deliver health services, including mental health care in school-based settings, invest in safe and supportive learning environments and student well-being in high-need school districts, and fund to build out the pipeline of mental health professionals serving in schools. Today, I am proud to announce that 18 states will receive $50 million in BSCA funding to help expand Medicaid services in schools – Medicaid is the single largest insurer of children in the United States, and this funding will help states meet our children where they are each and every day. Thanks to these and other crucial new resources made possible by President Biden, our young people can learn freely and safely. 

BSCA has enabled historic investments and efforts to build a mental health services infrastructure in schools and communities across the country to better support our youth well into the future. As we mark the two-year anniversary of BSCA, we celebrate the progress we have made and redouble our efforts to improve the mental health and well-being of every child and young person in this country.

For more information on this funding, visit