Meet The L.A. Trust

Bridging health and education
to achieve student wellness

Challenge

Los Angeles is one of the world’s wealthiest cities, yet more than one-quarter of our children live in poverty and far too many have inadequate healthcare. The Los Angeles Unified School District has one of the highest concentrations of low-income students in California, with more than 84% of students living at or below the poverty line. Students who receive low-quality or inconsistent healthcare are more likely to be absent from class, perform poorly in school and dropout altogether. Only 78% of L.A. Unified high school students graduate within four years. Dropout rates countywide are much higher among Black and Latinx students, who make up more than 4 in 5 LAUSD students. Without a high school diploma, youth are at greater risk of continued poverty and potential incarceration.

Solutions

Research proves the strong correlation between student health and academic success. It’s simple: children who get regular check-ups, dental screenings and access to mental health services can better focus on their studies. Healthcare is even more important for children living with the daily stressors of poverty — yet these are same children who often lack access to care. By addressing health challenges and the lack of health services, we can increase graduation rates and set students on a path towards higher education, vocational training and economic stability.

Mission

Our mission is bridging the worlds of health and education to achieve student wellness. Our vision is a world where every student is healthy and successful. Our rallying cry: Putting the care in student healthcare.

What we do

The Los Angeles Trust for Children’s Health accomplishes its mission in three major ways:

  • We facilitate screenings, referrals and student-led education on urgent health issues, including oral health, vaping, substance use, nutrition, and sexual and reproductive health, all in the safe and trusted setting of our public schools.
  • We collect and analyze data to help drive policy change, seeking answers that will guide funding as well as make the case for expanded school-based healthcare.
  • We bring educators, healthcare providers, students and community agencies and leaders together to tackle urgent issues affecting the lives of young people. Together we dissolve barriers to access through advocacy and collective impact.

History

The Los Angeles Trust for Children’s Health was established in 1991 through a resolution of the Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education to improve the health of LAUSD children and families and to provide support for the district’s growing number of school-based health centers. Starting in 2009, The L.A. Trust partnered with LAUSD to develop 16 Wellness Centers on the campuses of the highest-need LAUSD high schools and middle schools.

These ground-breaking Wellness Centers, known as the Wellness Network, expanded the traditional school-based health center model to include mental health and oral health, and to include health services for community members. Today, The L.A. Trust serves as Los Angeles Unified’s backbone health entity, bridging the gap between LAUSD, community clinics, mental health providers, advocacy groups and program partners to tackle collaboratively the urgent issues affecting the lives of young people, including substance use prevention, oral health, nutrition, mental health, HPV prevention and sexual and reproductive health.

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