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School Social Workers Have Big Impact on JCCS Students

School Social Workers Have Big Impact on JCCS Students
School social work team in a video conference call


When Juvenile Court and Community Schools (JCCS) received funding through the California Community Schools Partnership Program grant last year, one of the many benefits for students and families was the addition of full-time school social workers in each region.

School social workers are school-based mental health professionals who work in collaboration with counselors, parent and family liaisons, and site administrators to address barriers to academic success and provide social and emotional support, resources, and services.

As schools within JCCS continue evolving into community hubs by broadening the care and support they provide students and families, school social workers serve as an important link between home, school, and the larger community.

“School social workers view the student through an ecological perspective, where we support students in their environment, family, and community to help address barriers to their overall success and well-being. This really is a whole child design approach to providing services,” said Anna Schen, program specialist in JCCS.

School social workers have a broad view of the students’ needs and are knowledgeable about all the resources available in the community. They do home visits and connect students and families with housing, shelter, clothing, and other resources. At school, they’re an integral part of the system of support that improves academic, behavioral, and environmental outcomes for students and families.

Katelin Trant, a school social worker in the South and East regions, says there is a large need for therapy and mental health counseling, as well as need for emergency, transitional, and long-term housing for students. “Some of our students have experienced a lot of grief. Many have substance abuse issues and need treatment and support in that area. Many of our students are experiencing anxiety and depression right now,” she said. “And many of our students need clothing, food, child care, and diapers.”

The JCCS school social work team includes Trant, along with Eric Santiago who serves the North region, and Claudia Castaneda Lopez in Metro, with Schen providing oversight and support across the county.

“One of the highlights for me this past year has been rebuilding the relationship between JCCS and our Mobile Adolescent Services Team,” Santiago said. “As a result, we have had fewer students slip through the cracks and go extended periods without counseling.”

Prior to coming onboard full time, Santiago and Castaneda Lopez served as interns at JCCS sites as part of the intern program that was created and supported by SDCOE Social Work Coordinator Jenée Peevy with Schen.

Photos clockwise: Katelin Trant, Anna Schen, Clauda Castaneda Lopez, and Eric Santiago.

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