Student and Family Support Article

Many of the district’s most fragile children come to school with significant barriers to learning and academic success. Their families may lack basic resources such as housing, food, preventative medical/dental care or clothing. Their parents may be preoccupied with issues such as domestic violence, extreme poverty, joblessness, mental health diagnoses, substance abuse concerns, or debilitating illness. These families cannot focus on supporting their children’s academic success without access to resources to address their needs and concerns. Social Workers in the district are uniquely qualified to address these issues with families and children.

For children and families coping with these concerns, Social Workers provide instrumental support and referral services so that students and parents can increase their capacity to focus on academic, social and emotional success. For example, we have students in our district who are homeless. Social Workers are responsible for determining where those students are staying and ensuring they have access to transportation and other resources which allow them to continue to attend school each day, increasing their chances of academic success.

Many district students receive breakfast and lunch at school each day. Social Workers aid families in completing the Free and Reduced Lunch forms correctly and in a timely manner to ensure that children will receive nutritious meals while at school. They are also instrumental in helping students and their families with food concerns throughout the year by conducting food drives, obtaining donations for grocery store gift cards, referring families to churches and community food banks, and by delivering backpacks with food every Friday through the CHCCS’s Child Nutrition Backpack Program.

Families may not have transportation to critical meetings at school or in the community. Social Workers may provide transportation so that parents can attend school meetings or community appointments, thereby increasing their participation in these crucial activities and further deepening their connection to school and community supports. By providing outreach (through home visits, phone calls, meetings at school, parent group meetings), education, and referrals to resources to meet a family’s pressing needs, Social Workers create connections between these families and the school, which further increases the students’ academic success.