The Healthy Start Initiative provides grants to local education agency partnerships for program development and implementation. The grant award criteria requires schools with 50 percent of the students eligible for free and reduced meals in the lower grades and 35 percent eligible in middle through high schools. In addition, English learners are a targeted population. Planning, operational, and combined grants that include planning and implementation activities are awarded to local educational agencies and their collaborative partners for locally coordinated, school-linked services.
Planning grants of $50,000 are awarded for up to a two-year period, and operational grants provide $400,000 for up to a five-year period. Combined grants of up to $450,000 are awarded over a seven-year period. The grant awards depend upon annual appropriations under the Budget Act. Since its inception in 1991–92, Healthy Start has provided 823 planning grants, 651 operational grants, and 19 combined grants, benefiting more than two million children and their families throughout California. Currently there is no new funding for Healthy Start grants.
The results of past statewide evaluations show increases in test scores, improved attendance and classroom behavior, and greater parent involvement in Healthy Start schools. A major goal of Healthy Start is to build capacity at the school site to sustain these supports and services with other resources when the grant has ended.
For more information on Healthy Start, contact the Coordinated School Health and Safety Office at 916-319-0914. Additional information, including a fact sheet, is available at Healthy Start.