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  1. School Social Work Role: A National Agenda Leticia Villarreal Sosa, Type 73, LCSW, PhD, Graduate School of Social Work, Dominican University Laura Richards, LCSW, CSSWS, Office of Social Service Research & Development, Louisiana State University ACSSW National Research Summit June 28th, 2011

  2. Agenda • Presentation and Discussion of Role Paper Project • Continued Discussion of Louisiana Project • Audience discussion and reaction to Role Paper Project • Focus Group Discussion

  3. Rationale • Historically there has been a lack of role clarity (Agresta, 2004) • Need to distinguish between role of school social worker and other school based professionals (Agresta, 2004, 2006) • Changing nature of public education requires the need for role definition of school social workers. • Need to synthesize current discussion and literature about the role of the school social worker.

  4. Increase Legitimacy of the Profession • Poorly defined role expectations can lead to decreased legitimacy (Altshuler & Reid Webb, 2009). • Better defined roles can help with social marketing to the greater school community which in turn, helps to solidify role (Beauchemin & Kelly, 2009). • Role definition will have implications for social work training standards. • Role definitions allow for development of accountability and evaluation standards.

  5. Intended Audiences • School Social Work Practitioners and Researchers • Policy Makers • Other School Personnel and Administration

  6. Current Status of Project • Work in Progress……. • Development of wiki space ( • Phone conference meeting • Development of tasks/duties • First Role Paper in progress • Conceptualizing project (next steps, goals, collaborations, etc.)

  7. Literature Review • Several studies underway looking at school social work roles • Dr. Joanne Corbin of Smith College • Laura Richards, Louisiana State • Linda Openshaw and colleagues, Texas A&M • Research on Role Description • Frameworks and Models (Ecological and Systems) • Specific roles related to social issues (child abuse, HIV, dropouts, violence). • Role within specific models (community schools, RTI, etc.) • National and state studies of tasks and roles. • Theoretical frameworks to help understand school social worker roles (e.g. role theory)

  8. School Social Work A Growing Profession • School social work has grown to a profession of over 20,000, with national and state organizations (Schools Social Work Association of America [SSWAA] • School social work has a growing international presence with estimates of over 50,000 practitioners in more than 40 countries (Huxtable, 2006 as cited in Kelly, 2008).

  9. What is School Social Work? • Practiced in a school setting • Support students in all aspects of their lives • Bridge between school, home, and community • Definitions that encompass micro to macro practice • 5 task dimensions (cited in Constable 2009) • Relationships with and service to children and families • Relationship with and service to teachers and school staff • Services to other school personnel • Community services • Administrative and professional tasks

  10. History of Social Work • Evolved over the past 100 years (Richards, 2011) • 1918-compulsory school attendance • 1930s-emotional support for children • 1950s-experimentation of different methods • 1960s-role confusing to school personnel • 1970s-research on practice models • 1980s-federal legislation • 1990s-standards of practice • Today-changing due to policies affecting public education

  11. Current Changes and Challenges • Response To Intervention (RTI) • Data-based decision making • No Child Left Behind • Evidence-based practice • Accountability • Less concern for social emotional needs • Increasing mental health concerns and increase in populations that have limited access to mental health services. • Continued School Reform efforts • Where is the school social worker voice in this process?

  12. Questions and Comments • What advice would you provide in the development of this role paper? • What type of collaborations do you think are necessary? • Reactions and Questions? • Theoretical orientations • Contact: or

  13. Bibliography • Alderson, J. J. (1977). A perspective on "the many faces of school social work.". School Social Work Journal, 2(1), 15-25. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.  • Agresta, J. (2004). Professional role perceptions of school social workers, psychologists, and counselors. Children & Schools, 26(3), 151-163.   • Agresta, J. (2006). Job satisfaction among school social workers: The role of interprofessional relationships and professional role discrepancy. Journal of Social Service Research, 33(1), 47-52.  • Alameda-Lawson, T., Lawson, M.A., & Lawson, H.A. (2010). Children & Schools, 32(3), 172-182.   • Allen, S. F., & Tracy, E. M. (2004). Revitalizing the role of home visiting by school social workers. Children & Schools, 26(4), 197-208.  • Altshuler, S. J., & Reid Webb, J. (2009). School social work: Increasing the legitimacy of the profession. Children & Schools, 31(4), 207-218.  

  14. Bibliography • Beauchemin, P., & Kelly, M. S. (2009). Adopting a social marketing mind-set in school social work practice. School Social Work Journal, 34(1), 61-73.  • Brown, J. A., & Swanson, A. A. (1985). Demographic forecasting, Chicanos, and school social work. Social Work in Education, 7(3), 183-191. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.  • Clark, J. P. (1992). School social work with infants and toddlers with disabilities and their families: major roles and key competencies. School Social Work Journal, 16(2), 40-43. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.  • Diehl, D. & Frey, A. (2008). Evaluating a community-school model of social work practice. School Social Work Journal, 32(2), 1-20.   • Constable, R. (2009). The role of the school social worker. In C. Massat, R. Constable, S. McDonald, J. P. Flynn, C. Massat, R. Constable, ... J. P. Flynn (Eds.) , School social work: Practice, policy, and research (7th ed.) (pp. 3-29). Chicago, IL US: Lyceum Books 

  15. Bibliography • Essex, E. L., & Massat, C. R. (2005). Preparing school social workers for their wider role: policy as practice. School Social Work Journal, 29(2), 25-39. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.  • Franklin, C. C., & Gerlach, B. B. (2006). One hundred years of linking schools with communities: current models and opportunities. School Social Work Journal, 44-62. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.  • Franklin, C., Gerlach, B., & Chanmugam, A. (2008). School social work. In B. W. White, K. M. Sowers, C. N. Dulmus, B. W. White, K. M. Sowers, C. N. Dulmus (Eds.) , Comprehensive handbook of social work and social welfare volume 1: The profession of social work (pp. 205-225). Hoboken, NJ US: John Wiley & Sons Inc. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.  • Frey, A. J., & Dupper, D. R. (2005). A broader conceptual approach to clinical practice for the 21st century. Children & Schools, 27(1), 33-44.

  16. Bibliography • Grissett, J. (2009). Role conflict, role ambiguity, and self-efficacy of school social workers in K-12 public schools in Alabama. Dissertation Abstracts International Section A, 70, Retrieved from EBSCOhost.. • Huxtable, M. M. (2002). School social work: a growing international profession. Journal of School Social Work, 12(2), 1-7. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.  • Kelly, M.S., Frey, A., & Anderson-Butcher, D. (n.d. ) Writing the job description for school social worker in 2031. Children & Schools, • Levine, R. S., & Mellor, B. K. (1988). Evolving role of a school social worker: a chronology. Social Work in Education, (104), 235-245. Retrieved from EBSCOhost. • Staudt, M., & Kerle, S. A. (1987). Defining the School Social Worker's Role by Developing Service Priorities. Social Work in Education, 10(1), 5-13. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.