School Social Work Overview
School Social Workers (SSW) are the link between students, schools, parents, communities, governmental social services agencies, and other civil societies as they advocate on behalf of students. They provide purposeful intervention in the lives of students, families, teachers and communities. School Social Workers provide psychosocial intervention to assist students in reaching their fullest potential for best performance. School Social Workers are employed by the Ministry of Education, Trinidad and Tobago and function in seven (7) Education Districts throughout Trinidad.
Some of the issues addressed by School Social Workers include but are not limited to, child neglect, abuse, targeted emotional and social support to students’ mental health, teenage pregnancy, chronic absenteeism, grief and loss and building coping and resiliency skills. School Social Workers provide information and training for parents, teachers and other school personnel related to issues affecting children and specialized forms of intervention.
Roles and responsibility of School Social Workers
School Social Work encompasses a variety of very diverse
roles and tasks aimed at removing the psychosocial barriers to learning and
working towards meeting the unique needs of each student. A systems framework
forms a reference point for School Social Work Practice. School Social Workers roles/tasks include:
* Provide counselling services, support, and case management.
* Facilitate positive communication between home and school while build trusting and supporting relationships with students, families and school personnel.
*Advocate for the child and mobilize family, school and community resources to enable the child to learn as effectively as possible.
* Provide crisis intervention.
* Conduct home visits and family intervention to assist families in understanding their children educational needs and address barriers to learning.
* Facilitate Stakeholders engagement by linking students and families with school and community resources.
* Promote parental involvement in their child’s school and education through Parenting in Education Workshops (P.I.E.).
* Collaborate with school personnel to accurately assess students’ psychosocial needs and collaboratively develop strategies to meet identified needs and work towards facilitating students’ academic success.
* Provide opportunities for parents’/ caregivers to gain an understanding of services, programs and school policies.
* Provide assessments and interventions when working with students’ who have been referred by teachers or school administrators.
* Develop/facilitate/coordinate and provide prevention programs.
* Assess adaptive behaviours, and psychosocial factors that may be barriers to a student’s learning or have a direct impact on students' behaviours.
Core functions of School Social Work Practice
Guided by the systems framework, School Social Workers employ culturally relevant and appropriate strategies and techniques when working with students, families and communities. School Social Workers core functions are facilitated through the services highlighted in the following diagram. The services provided by School Social Workers are direct services provided at the student, family and community levels.
In response to COVID 19 School Social Workers continue to provide integral and necessary services to students, parents and families, educators and community members to create the appropriate intervention strategies during this pandemic whilst students are learning at home.