School Social Work
Children are increasingly victims of many social forces that can negatively affect their role as students. Families are often in a state of change and until it becomes stabilized, children’s unmet physical and emotional needs may interfere with their ability to learn and ultimately, graduate from high school. School social workers are uniquely qualified to work with students who are economically disadvantaged, have poor attendance, and have special needs.
CMS school social workers are assigned to targeted schools based on high need indicators.
School social workers are trained mental health professionals with a Master’s degree in social work who provide services related to student and/or family social, emotional and life adjustment to school and or society. School social workers are the link between the home, school and community and provide direct, as well as indirect services to students, families and school personnel to promote and support student’s academic and social success.
School social workers coordinate School Based Truancy Court programs in collaboration with district and superior court judges in targeted schools. Truancy Court Program
School social workers reduce or eliminate barriers to student achievement by targeting four major areas of focus via the social work service delivery model
- School social workers are uniquely trained and skilled to conduct assessments of student and family needs and interpret this information for the purpose of developing individualized intervention plans for students.
- During an assessment, the school social worker will speak with the student or parent to determine what barriers may be in the way of the student’s success or what needs the family may have that could be supported by school based or community based resources. They will also review some academic and family history with the student or parent.
- School social workers will speak with a student’s teacher, review school records and then create a plan that will aim to reduce the identified barrier or support the need that was noted by the student or parent.
- School social workers provide counseling support and assistance to students at risk of dropping out of school. They also work to increase the graduation rates for CMS high schools.
- School social workers provide students with assistance in the areas of academic support, bullying prevention and intervention, counseling, crisis intervention, financial resources, medical services, mental health services, peer mediation, positive decision making and problem solving and substance abuse services.
- School social workers build partnerships with community programs that serve students who are at risk for dropping out of school and provide linkage to community services.
- The McKinney-Vento law provides certain protections and supports to students who lack a fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence due to economic reasons or specific crisis situations.
- Students experiencing homelessness and their families are entitled to critical support services to help provide stability and assistance during a challenging time. School social workers help to eliminate barriers to academic success by providing counseling support, school-based and community resources and assistance with referrals to meet basic needs to minimize the harmful effects of homelessness. Additionally, school social workers ensure that the services provided to these students meet federal compliance guidelines.
- If you are struggling with a housing crisis (i.e., you live in a motel or shelter, are living in someone else’s home, on the street, etc.), please contact your school and ask for the McKinney-Vento liaison. Every CMS school has a McKinney-Vento liaison who can assist in determining if a student qualifies for services or provide information. MCV Services
A crisis may occur on a personal, family or societal level which may require the services of the school social worker. Social workers provide support, referral and direction for families and students during these difficult situations. Traumatic or stressful changes in a student’s life may include one or more of the following:
- Unstable or dangerous situation (domestic violence)
- Severe emotional or mental distress (i.e., grief and loss, mental health challenges, substance abuse, etc.)
- Suicidal ideation/attempts
- Emergencies (abrupt changes in the student’s living environment that have a drastic impact on the student's quality of life)
- Advocacy for students to receive academic supports and resources to eliminate barriers and build students' capacity for success in the learning environment
- Development of behavioral interventions for students struggling with anger and other emotions, displaying poor social skills and having conflicts with other students
- Counseling on specific goals via individual and small group meetings
- Responsive services for students who have been victimized as a result of abandonment, child abuse, domestic violence, dating violence, neighborhood violence, mental illness, bullying and harassment, gang involvement, etc., and coordination with appropriate school and community services
- Collaboration with teachers, administrators and professional support staff to evaluate students' needs
- Consultation with teachers, administrators, IEP teams and Intervention Teams and other professional support staff (school counselors, school psychologists, school health nurses, etc.) to develop intervention plans and provide services to students and families
- Developing and delivering professional development activities
- Implementation of school-wide programs or initiatives (holiday assistance, parent workshops) to meet student and family needs;
- Collaboration with internal CMS departments and external community groups to meet student and family needs and to reduce or eliminate barriers to student success
- Partnering and engagement with parents and guardians
- Consultation regarding school law and policies related to truancy, child abuse & neglect, and homeless education