Universal behavioral health screening is a foundational component of a multi-tiered system of supports (MTSS). It provides a means for early identification of those children who may be at-risk of developing behavioral concerns and may benefit from early intervention. It can also help school systems determine how all children are responding to universal practices.
Requirements for Contracted Mental Health Providers (Grades 1-12)
Iowa Code 280A (Behavioral Health Services - School Settings) defines behavioral health screening or screening as: a screening and assessment performed using a universal behavioral health screening and assessment tool, approved for use by the Department of Education in consultation with the Department of Public Health and the Department of Human Services, to identify factors that place children at higher risk for behavioral health conditions, to determine appropriate treatment or intervention, and to identify the need for referral for appropriate services.
Iowa Code 280A expands the opportunities for students to access behavioral health services with licensed professional mental health providers. It provides specific requirements for school districts, accredited nonpublic schools and AEAs who contract with licensed mental health providers. When mental health providers are contracted to conduct universal behavioral health screening for students in Grades 1-12 the following is required:
- The school or AEA must obtain written parent or guardian consent and at any point a student may opt out or discontinue participation. See Iowa Administrative Code 14.22(1-5) for more details.
- Screening must be administered in-person with the contracted mental health provider.
- The screening measure/tool used must be selected from one of the behavioral health screening measures that are approved by the Department in consultation with the Department of Public Health and Department of Human Services. See Approved Grade 1-12 Behavioral Health Screening Tools: For Contracted Mental Health Providers.
- Schools and AEAs may not engage contracted mental health providers to use measures that are not approved, however they may choose to use unapproved/reviewed measures for other purposes.
- The screening is optional and a student may opt out or discontinue at any time.
- Mental health professionals conducting such screenings are required to notify parents in the event the student needs additional behavioral health services.
- For additional detailed requirements see IAC 14.22(1-5).
Reviewed SEBH Screening Tools: Preschool-Kindergarten
To support schools in selecting SEBH screening measures for early identification of SEBH needs, the Department reviewed the technical characteristics of vendor submitted SEBH screening measures. The intent was to provide schools information on universal SEBH screening measures that meet the Department’s established criteria. The review was not exhaustive and was limited to measures submitted by vendors.
- Schools are not required to use or select from this reviewed list.
- When engaging in universal screening, schools should follow appropriate parent approval processes as outlined by their district policy.
- Other screening measures, not reviewed by the Department, may be as/more effective for universal SEBH screening.
- Iowa Administrative Code 281-14 (Division III School Behavioral Health Screening and Telehealth)
- Senate File 2261: Guidance for School Behavioral Health Screening and Telehealth - Expands the opportunities for students to access behavioral health services with a licensed professional mental health provider in a school setting via telehealth, with parent or guardian consent, and allows for school districts, accredited non-public schools, and Area Education Agencies (AEAs) to contract licensed mental health providers to conduct in-person, universal behavioral health screenings with parent or guardian permission.