The social worker for the Rutherford County School System once again will be working with the at-risk population in your school this year. Last year the social worker worked most frequently with two main target populations, those with attendance problems and those with mental health concerns. Poor attendance patterns are usually the tip of the iceberg as more concerns and issues lay beneath the surface of the student and his/her family.
Once again the schools social worker will be working in all 17 schools this year and want to spend as much time as possible at each school. However, because the social workers services shall be utilized by all 17 schools, the social worker may not always be readily available to assist with all issues. Therefore, please see the following guidelines for utilizing social work services.
Reasons to Contact the Schools Social Worker:
In working one-on-one with most administrators, counselors and other school personnel, the department feels that everyone understands when and how to utilize social work services in our county. However with only one in this system, the abilities of the social worker will again be limited to the total population of the school district (9,000+ students). The recommended ratio from “No Child Left Behind” continues to be 1:800 students in order to provide total school population assistance.
Below you will find examples (not all) when the schools social worker would be needed:
**Truancy Diversion Program. Please see the attendance flow chart for steps local schools need to follow to assure that students can be referred to the program this year.
** Mental Health issues in the school. The social worker will once again be the schools’ liaison for Family Preservation Services (FPS) and other mental health agencies in the county. FPS offers school based mental health services to all students and can be accessed by a school based referral form in counselor and/or principal’s office.
**Provide assistance to school and family when students are planning to drop out of school.
**Child abuse and neglect issues. The schools social worker and any school personnel cannot and will not verify abuse or neglect. School personnel are only required by law to report SUSPECTED incidents of abuse, neglect and dependency to DSS. For a review of reporting guidelines please contact the schools social worker.
** Provide consultation and collaboration with school staff and administration. Work with counselors and administration to design programs to address needs and/or assist with local school advisory issues and planning.
Please feel free to call me with any question about how I can assist your school with any concerns. Also, I will more than happy to attend any local school meetings where I could provide some assistance.
Mark A. Snyder, BSW
Schools Social Worker
Rutherford Opportunity Center
Rutherford County Schools
Social Work Department, 06/11