Dedicated to helping students overcome emotional and environmental barriers to learning, Appalachia Intermediate Unit 8 School Social Workers are Master's level clinicians, PA licensed, and Home and School Visitor certified through the Pennsylvania Department of Education. All social workers are required to obtain Act 34, Act 151, and FBI clearances. They are trained to provide services in the home and school environments. School Social Workers can help assist families with children in preschool through grade 12 obtain needed community resources, including mental health interventions, medical assistance, and Supplemental Security Income.
Once a referral has been received from the school district, School Social Workers will meet with the parents/caregivers to obtain family history and the nature of the concerns. Through this intake process, the School Social Worker is able to develop goals for treatment, research available resources, and provide feedback to parents/caregivers on how to first address the situation. Also as part of the intake, School Social Workers will consult with others who are involved with the student/family including: administrators, school psychologists, teachers, and outside agencies involved with the family and the student.
Based on the information gathered through the intake process, School Social Workers will provide information and resources that will meet the student's needs. School Social Workers will assist those in need through the referral process to agencies such as Behavioral Health, outpatient counseling, SSI, Medical Assistance, mental health services, addiction rehabilitation, and other community human service agencies.
School Social Workers work as members of both educational and community based teams to review interventions and programs for students that have been recommended based on their specific needs. School Social Workers will attend and participate by providing progress reporting at scheduled review meetings (IEP, ISPT, CASSP) and serve as a liaison between parent and school through home visits and phone calls to develop a home/school partnership.
School Social Workers provide counseling services to students and parents individually and in group to help them cope with a variety of situations, to alleviate social and emotional factors affecting educational progress, to address behavior management needs, and to promote communication and cooperation.
Appalachia Intermediate Unit 8 employs School Social Workers in schools throughout Bedford, Blair, Cambria, and Somerset counties at no cost to the parents. Social Workers team with districts to provide services to students and families in need. IU8 School Social workers regularly attend professional development opportunities in order to provide best practices to students they serve. IU8 School Social Workers actively participate in the IU8 School Psychologists’ and Social Workers’ Consortium which is designed for district social workers and school psychologists within the IU8 coverage area to receive professional development and opportunities to network with professionals from the four county area.