The Wolf Creek Public School Family School Liaison Program has had a name change.
Historically the program consisted of family school liaison workers employed in each school throughout the division. Although WCPS will continue to have some family school liaison workers, the majority of these same employees are now called school social workers. This change reflects the difference in training and educational background. School social workers are registered with the Alberta College of Social Workers, a professional body operating under the Health Professions Act. Family school liaison workers are registered with the Alberta Association of Family School Liaison Workers.
The primary goals of the school social worker and family school liaison staff is to ensure that families and students have effective life skills; families are connected to their schools and their community and collaboration with community agencies exists in order to further the well-being of students and their families.
This change comes as a result of much research and collaborative discussions with community partners. This work has taken several months and many conversations that have involved WCPS internal staff and interagency partners. The school social worker/FSLW role provides individual and family supports as well as supporting schools and staff in advancing inclusion to create the best learning environments possible for all students.
“School social workers are working daily to enhance the development of students’ educational, social and emotional experiences,” said Barb Reaney, district social worker and supervisor of the School Social Work/Family School Liaison Program. “Our goal is to continue to build staff capacity allowing us to provide the best service possible to support our students and families.”
Amber Hester, WCPS assistant superintendent of inclusive learning, agreed.
“Our name change recognizes that the people working in the school social work role are trained social workers and are registered with ACSW. One might ask, does a name change make a difference, yes it does. Our partners that we work with on a daily basis recognize the role, training and professional expectation of a social worker. Many of our partnering agencies have social workers as well so this alignment provides for fluid communication and collaboration. We are very excited about our new name change. It supports the vision of our school division and aligns with the provincial services delivery RCSD as well.”
Reaney added communication is key.
“We want to be clear with our communication that the name change does not mean that we are involved with child protection nor do we treat significant mental health issues. Social workers from Child and Family Services Authority and therapists from Alberta Health Services Mental Health are tasked with those mandates, not school social workers.”
Candice Wilton, school social worker with Ponoka Outreach School added, “When calling a social worker from another agency, it was great to be able to say I was the school social worker as it immediately put us on the same level for communication.”