School Based SBIRT (Screening, Brief Intervention, Referral To)

  • The Auburn School District has been dedicated to supporting the health and well-being of our middle school students. In 2015 King County voters approved the groundbreaking Best Starts for Kids (BSK) levy which funds initiatives to support the health and well-being of King County communities, families, and children. As part of the BSK investment in the health of young people ages 5-24 and with additional funding through a local behavioral health sales tax, Mental Illness and Drug Dependency (MIDD), which supports programs providing equitable opportunities for health, wellness, connection and recovery, King County’s Department of Community and Human Services implemented a school-based SBIRT model in 42 middle schools starting in September 2018. Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral (SBIRT) is a public health model for identifying and addressing substance use and related risks. School-based SBIRT is a novel approach which expands on SBIRT to broadly support the health and well-being of middle school students. The Auburn School District has been a part of this program from the beginning. 

    Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral To (SBIRT) is a public health approach to identifying and addressing substance use and related risk.  SBIRT has three main components:

    • Screening is conducted using a version of the Check Yourself tool adapted for middle school settings through funding from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation. Check Yourself is a multi-risk electronic screening tool that includes personalized feedback for the student based on their responses developed by Dr. Cari McCarty and Dr. Laura Richardson from Seattle Children’s and Tickit Health. Based on their screening results, students are prioritized into one of three tiers defined by the risk factors they endorse. 
    • SBIRT interventionists at the school conduct Brief Intervention (15- 20 minute) sessions with youth using Motivational Interviewing strategies to assess strengths, facilitate goal setting, provide referrals, and follow-up as needed. 
    • Referral To assessment and/or other community-based services and supports, including counseling, mentoring, and youth leadership opportunities. The Auburn S.D. partners with the YMCA and Valley Cities.  


    The SBIRT program was designed to align with the existing Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS) framework used by schools to integrate SBIRT into existing systems. The framework uses universal screening to help identify student challenges early and tiered interventions that can be tailored to student needs. By design the Check Yourself screening tool in SBIRT incorporates a tiered approach based on risk factors endorsed by students (see Appendix E for details on SBIRT tiers). In addition to the SBIRT interventions described below, the program includes training & technical assistance to support schools with implementation, data collection, and reporting.