School Social Work
School Social Workers are support professionals embedded in our schools to help children and families when they encounter barriers that impact a child’s academic and social development.
School Social Workers are advocates who help students achieve academic and social success by linking the home, school, and community. In order to reach this goal, School Social Workers provide support services to remove barriers to student success. These support services include intervention, crisis support and mental health counseling, addressing issues of non-attendance and truancy, completing behavioral assessments, and psychosocial evaluations.
Additionally, School Social Work Services manages several district–wide specialty programs that directly impact and support the academic achievement and eventual high school graduation of our students. These programs are legislatively mandated and/or supported by School Board policies.
INTERVENTIONS AND COUNSELING
- Facilitating groups related to divorce, social skills, conflict management/truancy prevention, parenting, and family adjustment
- Short-term individual counseling
- Supporting educational concerns
- Addressing family issues
- Helping to ease social and emotional concerns
- Available to teachers and parents
- Consultations are available with professionals in the community
- Appropriateness of student assignment, placement, curriculum, and programs
- Participating on Collaborative Problem-Solving Teams (CPST)
- Advocacy during parent conferences regarding educational concerns
- Membership on School Improvement Plan teams
- Membership on District committees
ATTENDANCE ISSUES AND TRUANCY INTERVENTIONS
- Student and family assessment
- Referrals to community agencies
- Referrals to Children in Need of Services/Families in Need of Services
- Broward Truancy Intervention Program (BTIP)
- Referral to Department of Children and Families
- Representation in court
- Partnership with the State Attorney’s Office, District 17, State of Florida
- Home visits
- Communicating with school staff, parents, and community agencies
- Linking parents, staff, and students to mental health, medical, and social service; including food, clothing, and shoes
- Providing follow-up case management with teachers and parents.
- Promoting parent/school collaboration
Specialized Professionals Advancing Resources, Knowledge, and Skills
SPARKS is an initiative introduced to Broward County Public Schools prior to the start of the 2017/18 school year to address specific barriers to academic success. This initiative aims to improve student’s school performance, as measured by increased attendance, improved school behavior, increased academic functioning, and enhanced social and emotional functioning. The program services the Dillard and Boyd Anderson zones in 20 different schools. There are 25 full-time school social workers assigned to those schools. The SPARKS social worker leads support services within the school in cooperation with school-based leadership, community liaisons, family therapists, school nurses, and other support resources. Elementary schools in these zones include a partnership with Motivational Coaches of America (MCUSA), a private agency providing behavioral health services.
The SPARKS program provides targeted interventions to assist students with excessive absences, behavioral issues, and social/emotional concerns. Services include counseling for individuals and small groups, psychosocial assessments, crisis team management, and membership on collaborative problem-solving teams. Social workers and community liaisons partner with local agencies to address the basic needs of students and families. Outreach activities include health fairs, resource fairs, newsletters, and attendance at meetings with parents and other stakeholders. Since the implementation of SPARKS, mentoring programs have been initiated between schools in the zones. SPARKS schools are also identifying mentors within the community to work with children in our schools.
MILITARY PERSONNEL AND FAMILIES
EMBRACING MILITARY CONNECTED STUDENTS & FAMILIES
Support services are provided by Master’s Level School Social Workers to identify and support the educational and social-emotional needs of our military-connected students and families in BCPS. Support services are offered in every school in coordination with other departments and programs and in partnership with community agencies. Interventions are implemented within the guidelines of the Military Compact Interstate Agreement, and policies of BCPS.
There are 1.2 million military children in the USA. Since 2001, approximately 2 million of the military –connected students in the USA have experienced the deployment of a parent. The repeated and extended separation and increased hazards of deployment compound stressors in the lives of these students and have been addressed by BCPS.
BCPS and community agencies sustain our fighting forces and strengthen the health, security, and safety of our nation, and families. They serve our nation at the time of deployment as well as their entire families. Non-military community members have the opportunity to show their appreciation by supporting these children, and their families.
Facilitation of enrollment and placement for incoming families, individual needs assessment, individual and group counseling, crisis intervention, attendance issues, referrals for services, school events and projects, cards and writing letters to soldiers in deployment, collection of packages, military drive for military-connected students and families, celebration of April as the Military Child Month, school presentations by veterans, celebration of returning parents from deployment, case consultation with teachers and school personnel, and staff development among others.
We are pleased to partner with: Garrison Army, Southern Command, The Florida Army National Guard, Mission United, and Military Related Support Organizations.
SUBSTANCE ABUSE AND ABEYANCE PROGRAM
Students suspended from school for drug or alcohol related offenses per Policy 5006 are evaluated and referred to appropriate substance abuse counseling. Follow-up services are provided to referring administrator. Consultation services are also provided for high-risk students who may be involved with alcohol or other drugs.
Referrals can come from administration, guidance, parents or the students’ themselves.
For more information:Saul Gelin, MSWSubstance Abuse Counselor & Expulsion Abeyance Case ManagerEmail: email@example.com(754)321-1620 Carlos Sierra, LCSWSubstance Abuse Counselor/Expulsion Abeyance Case ManagerEmail: firstname.lastname@example.org(754)321-1621 Antonio Nunez, LCSWSubstance Abuse Counselor/ Expulsion Abeyance Case ManagerEmail: email@example.com(754)321-1622
TEEN PARENT PROGRAM
The philosophy of the Teen Parent Program is that dropout prevention is best achieved through the provision of academic and social emotional support. Our purpose is to offer academic alternatives, access to day care, and supportive interventions through counseling to ensure a secure future for the student and child.
Pregnant or parenting persons of legal school age are eligible for these services.
Written confirmation of pregnancy is required for most services.
Pregnant and parenting students have the options of remaining in their home schools and receiving limited support services by an assigned teen parent school social worker. Another option is that they may transfer to one of the three District teen parent centers and receive full support, including day care.
The services provided by the Teen Parent Social Workers listed here include but are not limited to comprehensive assessment, individual, group and family counseling, parent education and advocacy, crisis intervention, staff consultation, interdisciplinary collaboration with school counselors, other District school social workers, school psychologists, nurses, teachers, other support personnel, and pregnancy prevention education.
Furthermore, the Teen Parent Social Workers link clients to appropriate community resources.
For more information:
GRADUATE SOCIAL WORK INTERNS
The Master of Social Work (MSW) school social work internship program in Broward County Public Schools serves the universities to prepare graduate students to serve many different types of school social work roles in the south Florida area and beyond. Further, the program seeks to enhance students’ understanding of, and sensitivity to, economic and social inequities of students enrolled in public schools. MSW interns are expected to demonstrate specialized school social work practice knowledge and skills to successfully serve individuals, families, groups, communities, and organizations.
The MSW internship program in Broward County Public Schools seeks to prepare MSW students to serve Broward County’s most vulnerable school populations in areas such as mental health, homeless education (HEART program), teen parent program, family therapy in schools, disadvantaged youth, student leadership (mentoring), crisis intervention, child welfare, and disaster relief. These specialized settings demand that students synthesize and apply knowledge and skills in an ethical and competent manner to address needs throughout our school district in a micro, macro, and multi-system service environment. These learning settings help cultivate leadership, increase knowledge, refine skills, and strengthen school social work values in student interns. These experiential learning opportunities help develop proficiency in the social work core competencies in preparation for professional practice.
All school social work interns are immediately paired with a veteran social worker. The development of a learning plan takes place together, and the intern and instructor work side-by-side in the professional learning environment for the timeline of the practicum. Once a month, MSW interns meet to discuss clinical practice knowledge items specific to working in schools, and discuss their individual goals for meeting their learning plan completion.
Please contact Mr. Terence McGarry if you have any questions about the MSW internship experience at Broward County Public Schools.
Terence D. McGarry LCSW, CAP
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