Back to school is an important time for parents and families to prioritize their children’s health and well-being. To aid in this effort, we have created a page to help parents navigate the various resources available from the Department of Health Services, the Department of Public Instruction, the Department of Children and Families, the Office of Children's Mental Health and other family-serving organizations. A back to school checklist (PDF) is also available to help you and your family prepare for the new school year.
Routine childhood vaccinations
Make sure your child is up-to-date on vaccines that protect them from many serious but preventable diseases. Make a plan to receive routine vaccinations and don't forget the annual flu vaccine.
- Wisconsin Immunization Registry: Check your child's vaccination record online.
- Vaccines for Children Program (VFC): See if your child is eligible for free vaccinations and find a VFC doctor's office near you.
- School Immunization Requirements: Kindergarten - Fifth Grades: See a fact sheet with information for parents and guardians.
- School Immunization Requirements: Sixth - 12th Grades: See a fact sheet with information for parents and guardians.
Does your child have their vaccines?
To protect students and children from diseases that are preventable by immunization, Wisconsin law requires all students to show that they have received the required immunizations or have a signed waiver.
In-person learning is a priority in Wisconsin. Yet, COVID-19 is still spreading in our communities, so we all must take precautions to protect the health and safety of Wisconsin children. This includes wearing a well-fitting mask or respirator when recommended in schools and on the bus, washing hands frequently, and staying home when sick or after close contact with someone with COVID-19. Have a plan in place in the event your child needs to stay home from school for isolation and quarantine. COVID-19 testing may be offered through your child's school. In order for your child to be tested, you will need to provide your consent for the testing program. Everyone ages 5 and older should get vaccinated and boosted for the best protection against COVID-19. When your children are up to date with COVID-19 vaccines, they have a far lower risk of getting severely sick, being hospitalized, or dying from COVID-19.
Learn more about vaccinating your child and other ways to protect your child from COVID-19 this school year at COVID-19: Resources for Parents and Guardians.
Health care and dental resources
Prioritizing a child’s physical health and access to quality health care can help them succeed in the classroom. Routine childhood health care visits help prevent conditions and illnesses and ensure your child is healthy. At a routine childhood health care visit, your child may receive childhood vaccines, weight and height check-ups, nutrition counseling, anemia and lead testing, support for language development, and more.
- Finding a Health Care Facility or Care Provider: Helpful information and how to find and choose a health care provider.
- Teen Well Visits: A Guide for Families: Learn what to expect at a teen well visit with a health care provider.
- Services for Children with Delays or Disabilities: Learn about Wisconsin programs available for children with delays or disabilities.
- Free or Reduced-Fee Dental Services: Find free or reduced-fee dental services.
- Wisconsin Seal-A-Smile: Learn more about the free program.
- Applying for Benefits: Get helpful information on how to apply for Wisconsin benefits.
- Medicaid in Wisconsin: Learn more about Medicaid programs available in Wisconsin.
Resources for health-related conditions
Many Wisconsin children live with a health-related condition that may affect their performance in the classroom. Seeking care for these health-related conditions can help your child stay healthy and succeed in school.
- Asthma Action Plan for Home and School: Download, print, and complete this action plan to share with your child's school.
- Diabetes - Safe at School State Laws: Learn rights related to diabetes management in Wisconsin schools.
- Safe at School During COVID-19: Recommendations on Returning to School for Children with Diabetes: See questions and answers about returning to school during COVID-19.
- Resources for Children with Autism: See resources from DPI.
- Find Your Way Navigation Guide: Find resources for Wisconsin families who have children and youth with special health care needs.
- Information on Head Lice: Know the signs and symptoms of head lice and find prevention and treatment resources.
- Blood Lead Levels in Children: See what parents need to know to protect their children.
- Lead Testing for Children: Learn about Wisconsin's lead testing program for children.
Staying healthy and active
Physical activity, proper nutrition, and adequate sleep are important to good health. Making healthy meals and staying active together as a family can help support your child's health and well-being.
- Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity Prevention Resources: Find helpful tools and resources to support your child's health.
- FoodShare: Also known as SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) or food stamps, FoodShare helps people with limited money buy food.
- Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Nutrition Program: WIC provides supplemental nutritious foods, nutrition education, and more for lower income pregnant women, infants, women who are breastfeeding, postpartum women, and children younger than five years old.
- Recommended Hours of Sleep: Find out how much sleep your child should be getting.
Healthy social behavior
The school year is a great opportunity for your child to develop and enhance their social skills. It’s important for parents to have the tools they need to encourage healthy relationship development and reduce the likelihood of risky behavior.
- Internet and Online Safety: Stay informed and help your child make smart choices while using technology with these resources from DPI.
- Healthy Use of Screen Time: Find information for parents to help support healthy use of screen time.
- Where We Stand: Screen Time: Get connected with resources on screen time from the American Academy of Pediatrics.
- Bullying Prevention Resources: See recommendations for parents or guardians of children experiencing bullying and more from DPI.
- Speak Up, Speak Out Parent Resource Center: Get help for yourself or someone who is hurting, struggling, or in danger.
- Positive Parenting Practices: Find parenting resources on topics like adolescent relationships, and sexual risk behaviors.
- LGBT+ Youth Health: Learn about issues and disparities affecting LGBT youth.
- Social and Emotional Learning Resources: See videos, a toolkit, and articles from DPI to help your children explore social and emotional skills.
- Social Connectedness: Support your child's well-being through strengthening social connections and relationships.
Mental health resources
If you or your child is struggling with a mental health or behavioral health challenge, you’re not alone. Many families find the school year to be a challenging time for their child’s well-being. Here are resources to help you better understand these challenges and how you can help.
Simple tools for home or school
- Mental Health Crisis Card: List 3 things someone can do to help you de-escalate in the first 5 minutes of a mental health crisis or agitated state.
- Feelings Thermometer: Use a visual tool to measure how you are doing emotionally and what steps you can take to shift your mood when things are getting tough.
- Suicide Prevention Resources: Know risk factors, warning signs, and get help now.
- HOPELINE: Get 24/7 emotional support and information through texts.
- Safe Person Campaign: Learn how you can be a safe person to others.
- Safety-Proof Your Home: Lock up or safely store medications, firearms, and sharp objects.
Resilience and effective coping strategies
- Understanding Resilience: Learn ways to cope with, and recover from, tough times in healthy ways.
- Resilience during COVID-19: Learn how to deal with difficulties in healthy ways and bounce back from hardship during COVID-19.
- Dinner Table Resilience Video Series: Watch short videos with tips for families from Better Together La Crosse.
Support for accessing services
- Accessing Children's Mental Health Services guide: Accessing children's mental health services is hard. Understand how families can find help for their children. Available in English, Spanish, and Hmong.
- Well Badger's Children's Mental and Behavioral Health Resources: Find specific services and providers in your area.
- Mental Health: Care and Coverage: Get help accessing mental health care.
- Office of Children’s Mental Health: See a list of organizations that provide support to families throughout the state.
Resources on substance use
Know the signs and get the resources you need to prevent substance use.
- Tobacco is Changing: Learn about e-cigarettes and what you can do to take action.
- Underage Drinking: Know the warning signs and get the facts and tips you need to talk with your child about the dangers of underage drinking.
Support and self-care resources for parents and guardians
The school year can be a stressful time for any parent. Managing everyone’s work and school schedule can leave parents with little time to take care of themselves. Here are resources to help you prioritize your health and well-being this year.
- Child Care Services: Get information and links to child care resources from the Department of Children and Families.
- Nutrition and Staying Active: Find helpful tools and resources to support your health.
- Five for Families - Child Abuse and Prevention Board: Learn the 5 strengths that keep every family strong.
Call 211 or 877-947-2211 to get referrals for thousands of services across Wisconsin. For COVID-19 questions, text COVID to 211-211. Language assistance is available.
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