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Last modified: January 21, 2021

District Social Worker FAQ

Why Does a School Need a School Social Worker?

School social workers are trained, licensed mental health professionals skilled in assessing the needs of students and have knowledge of the cultural differences present with each student. School social workers utilize preventative measures such as home visits, facilitation of groups, coordination of community services and collaboration with school staff to promote an overall healthy school environment. School social workers play a critical role in schools and educational settings. Social workers working within school systems provide services to students to enhance their emotional well-being and improve their academic performance. 

What Services Does a School Social Worker Provide?

  • Conducting bio-psychosocial assessments and social histories
  • Assessing students for substance use, support systems, physical and emotional functioning, barriers to academic performance, peer issues, suicidal/homicidal ideation, and similar issues
  • Developing and implementing plans that support student self-determination
  • Providing crisis management services, including assessing for safety
  • Conducting home visits
  • Advocating for student services and students’ best interests
  • Providing direct therapeutic services to students on a case by case basis
  • Providing case management services including, but not limited to, referrals to community resources, collaboration with other professionals
  • Providing trainings and workshops to teachers, school staff and parents
  • Providing behavior support at school and home.
  • Contributing to a multidisciplinary treatment team.
  • Groups/Clubs
    • Kindness Club
    • HOPE Squad
    • Friendship
    • Social Skills
    • Emotional Regulation
    • Anxiety
    • Depression
    • Grief/Loss
    • Body Safety
    • Healthy Relationships
    • Student Success

How Does a School Social Worker Differ From A Department of Children and Family Services Worker (DCFS)?

Every School Social Worker is required to be certified by the Utah Department of Education and must have a Master’s degree in Social Work. There are times when a school social worker will have communication with a DFCS social worker or case manager. This may occur if a student is in foster care or when the school has made a report of neglect or abuse.

What Is The Nature of School Social Work?

School social workers serve students, school personnel, families, and communities in primarily four major ways:

  • Early intervention to reduce or eliminate stress within or between individuals or groups.
  • Problem-solving services to students, parents, school personnel, or community agencies.
  • Early identification of students at risk.
  • Work with various groups in schools to develop coping, social and decision-making skills.

How Is a School Social Worker Involved In The Truancy Process?

School social workers play an important role in reducing school dropouts and decreasing truancy rates. School social workers monitor the attendance of students, and support school attendance policies. School social workers are provided the names of students with attendance issues and respond by meeting with the student and collaborating with school personnel and parents or guardians to determine the nature of the attendance issue. School social workers, along with the truancy officer are usually involved in monitoring attendance long before a student reaches an excess number of absences, especially if a prior history of poor attendance exists.

How Do Social Workers Determine What Students Receive Services?

School social workers serve all students in the Provo School District. Most school social workers receive referrals from school counselors, teachers, or administrators. Sometimes a community agency may even make a referral to a school social worker. The number of referrals received largely drives a school social worker’s day, and no two days are ever alike. Follow-up action could be as simple as a telephone call, while some referrals require more intensive intervention such as immediate referral to community agencies or a series of visits with the student and family over the course of several weeks.

What Type of Students Does a Social Worker Work With?

  • Health Problems
  • Behavioral Concerns
  • Academic Concerns
  • Family Needs Resources
  • Mental Health Issues
  • Attendance Problems

If you have any other questions, please reach out to your School Social Worker.