Outline of the state of District of Columbia
District of Columbia
Encouraged or Required

Early Identification and Referral

Early Identification and Referral

State law encourages or requires districts to implement identification and referral processes to link students and families with needed resources.

Code of the District of Columbia 38-671.02. School Health Innovations Grant Program.

(a) There is established the School Health Innovations Grant Program to expand access to comprehensive behavioral health care services by providing grants to health care providers that partner with District of Columbia public schools and public charter schools to give students, and the communities that surround the schools, opportunities to access behavioral health care services, including through the incorporation of remote computer access. (b) The Department shall administer the Program and shall award innovation grants of up to $400,000 each, to up to 8 health care providers that participate in the Program. (c) Each health care provider that participates in the Program shall partner with a D.C. School and establish a school-based health care clinic within the D.C. School that offers the following:

  • (1) Screenings for behavioral health and social determinants of health needs;
  • (2) Referrals to health care and social services providers;
  • (3) Community health care navigation services; and
  • (4) On-demand access to health care provider services via real time computer access. (d) The school-based clinic shall coordinate student care with the students’ parents and the students’ primary care providers regarding follow-up care, including care plans and plans for continued care made by the participating health care provider and for in-person appointments with social service providers. (e) A health care provider that receives a grant under the Program and the partnering D.C. School may agree to extend the services of the school-based clinic to include a community-based clinic that provides services to D.C. School employees, family members of the students, and the local neighborhood community that surrounds the D.C. School. If the grant recipient and the partnering D.C. School elect to establish a community-based clinic, the clinic shall be available to the residents of the surrounding community only after regular school hours of the D.C. School and shall be staffed with health professionals capable of providing patient centered primary health care.
Policy Type

Code of the District of Columbia 38–2602. Responsibilities.

(a) Within one year of the Officer’s appointment, but not later than October 2001, and except as provided in § 38-2604, the OSSE shall assume the responsibilities listed in subsection (b) of this section. The transfer and assumption of responsibilities shall take place in accordance with the short-term plan to be submitted by the Officer to the Mayor for approval by February 15, 2001, or 5 weeks from the establishment of the OSSE, whichever is later. (b) The OSSE shall:

  • (26)
    • (A) Develop and publish online written guidance to assist LEAs in developing and adopting policies and procedures for handling aspects of student mental and behavioral health. The written guidance shall include model policies for identifying, appropriately supporting, and referring to behavioral health service providers students with mental and behavioral health concerns, and model policies for suicide prevention, suicide intervention, and suicide postvention, especially for at-risk youth sub-groups.
Policy Type

Code of the District of Columbia 7–1131.17. Youth behavioral health program.

(a) As of October 1, 2012, there is established within the Department, and shall be made available to all child development facilities, public schools, and public charter schools, a program that, at a minimum, provides participants with the tools needed to:

  • (1) Identify students who may have unmet behavioral health needs;
  • (2) Refer identified students to appropriate services for behavioral health screenings and behavioral health assessments;
  • (3) Recognize the warning signs and risk factors for youth suicide and implement best practices for suicide prevention, suicide intervention, and suicide postvention.


  • (1) Starting October 1, 2016, completion of the program shall be mandatory once every 2 years for all:
    • (A) Teachers in public schools and public charter schools;
    • (B) Principals in public schools and public charter schools; and
    • (C) Staff employed by child development facilities, who are subject to training or continuing education requirements pursuant to licensing regulations.
Policy Type

District-wide Model Bullying Prevention Policy

This model policy for bullying prevention includes referral to or provision of services, such as services addressing mental or behavioral health concerns, for youth at risk of being a bully or a victim and for youth involved in a bullying incident. Schools and LEAs are encouraged to include guidance regarding identifying at-risk groups and a defined referral process in their bullying prevention policy.

Policy Type