ERLACS Social Services
ERLACS Social Services is instrumental in furthering the mission of the schools which is to provide a setting for teaching, learning, and for the attainment of competence and confidence. Services help parents, students, and school staff identify needs that interfere with learning and work with students to get the services they need. We work with general and special education students and their families to resolve social, emotional, and behavioral problems. We do this through assessment, consultation with school staff and community providers, through development and implementation of behavior management plans, and providing indirect and direct services. We help to bridge school, home, and community to help students be as successful as possible.
NOTE: AS MANDATED REPORTERS, OUR GOAL IS TO MEET THE NEEDS OF ALL STUDENTS AND PROVIDE A SAFE HAVEN FOR THEM AS WELL. ALSO, THE SAFETY AND WELL BEING OF EACH CHILD IS PARAMOUNT HERE AT ERLACS
Social Services are part of the special education team and discipline. We facilitate meetings, participate in assessments, communicate with parents/guardians, and serve as a resource to students, families, and other school staff.
Social Services work with individual students and families to support good attendance. Our goal is for every student to have 95%+ attendance for the school year.
Individual and Groups
Social Services staff meet one-on-one with individual students to work on any problems students may be having including peer relationships, behavior problems, problems in the community, at home or in school. Social Workers help students to develop social skills, coping strategies and to find positive solutions. Various groups are facilitated to address student needs. These include social skills, relationship building, girls, and boy’s groups.
HHM (Homeless and Highly Mobile)
Due to these difficult economic times, many of our students and families have become homeless or are highly mobile. If your student is HHM they are entitled to certain rights, and we may have resources to help you through this challenging time. You may be HHM if you are in a shelter, living in a hotel or motel, moving frequently or are living doubled up due to a lack of affordable housing. Please contact any of our Social Services Staff to determine if you meet the HHM criteria or assist you in accessing resources.
Pennsylvania Department of Education Homeless Criteria Procedures
This Basic Education Circular (BEC) explains the categories of children who are “homeless” and entitled to the protections of the federal law. These categories include:
- Children and youths who are sharing the housing of other persons due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or a similar reason; are living in motels, hotels, trailer parks or camping grounds due to the lack of alternative adequate accommodations; are living in emergency or transitional shelters; are abandoned in hospitals;
- Children and youths who have a primary nighttime residence that is a public or private place not designed for or ordinarily used as a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings;
- Children and youths who are living in cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, bus or train stations, or similar settings;
- “Migratory children” who qualify as homeless under federal law because the children are living in circumstances described in clauses (i) through (iii) above. The term “Migratory children” means children who are (or whose parents (s) or spouses (s) are) migratory agricultural workers, including migratory dairy workers or migratory fisherman, and who have moved from one school district to another in the preceding 36 months, to obtain (or accompany such parents or spouses to obtain) temporary or seasonal employment in agricultural or fishing work;
- “Unaccompanied homeless youth” including any child who is “not in the physical custody of a parent or guardian. “This includes youth who have run away from home, been thrown out of their home been abandoned by parents or guardians or separated from their parents for any other reason. Communication and collaboration among education and child welfare professionals is critical to support school stability and continuity for children in out-of-home care. The law requires child welfare and local education agencies to work together to promote school stability and continuity including trying to ensure children remain in the school in which they are enrolled at the time of placement when it is in their best interest. Best practice would suggest that decisions he made collaboratively between school personnel, child welfare agencies and any other individual involved in the child’s case including the child, resource parent, child advocate and attorney. It is imperative that caseworkers and school district administration and staff work together to help ensure the educational progress of all students.
Under the Pennsylvania Education for Homeless Children and youth State Plan, homeless children are defined as “children living with a parent in a domestic violence shelter; runaway children and children, and youth who have been abandoned or forced out of their home by parents or other caretakers; and school-aged parents living in houses for school-aged parents if they have no other available living accommodations.” The McKinney-Vento Act states that it is the policy of Congress that state educational agencies shall ensure that each child of a homeless individual and each homeless youth has equal access to the same free, appropriate public education, including a public preschool education, as provided to other children and youths 42 U.S.C. & 11431. Specifically, 42 U.S.C. &11432 (g) (3) (A) indicates that the local educational agency (LEA) shall, according to the child’s best interest: In accordance with Section 722 (g) (3) (B) (ii), the local educational agency:
- Must presume that keeping a homeless child or youth in the school of origin is in the child’s or youth’s best interest unless doing so is contrary to the request of the child’s or youth’s parent or guardian, or (in the case of an unaccompanied youth) the youth;
- Must consider student-centered factors related to a child’s or youth’s best interest, giving priority to the request of the child’s or youth’s parent or guardian, or (in the case of an unaccompanied youth) the youth; or
- If the LEA determines that it is not in a child’s or youth’s best interest to attend the school of origin, or the school requested by the parent, guardian, or unaccompanied youth, it must provide a written explanation of the reasons for its determination, in a manner and form that is understandable.
According to the McKinney-Vento Act the term “school or origin” means the school the child or youth attended when permanently housed, or the school in which the child or youth was last enrolled. 42 U.S.C. & 11432 (g) (3) (G). U.S.C. § 11432(g) (3) (G).
Social Services staff assist students and their families to find the resources they need including food, housing, medical, clothing, tutoring, substance abuse resources, counseling, domestic abuse support, and others. If your family needs services, please feel free to contact Social Services at (814) 520-6468 ext. 1954. Email – [email protected].
Links to community partners and services
CLOTHING AND HOME GOODS PROVIDERS:
Rainbow Connection – http://www.euma-erie.org/mission-programs/rainbow-connection
Salvation Army – https://www.salvationarmyusa.org
St. Martin Center – https://www.stmartincenter.org
The Good Will – https://www.goodwillready.org
MENTAL HEALTH PROVIDERS:
Affinity Family Support Services – https://affinityfamilysupportservicespc.com
Crime Victim Center – https://cvcerie.org
Safe Harbor – https://www.upmc.com
Family Services – https://www.fsnwpa.org
Greater Erie Community Action Center (GECAC)- https://www.gecac.org
Greater Erie Economic Development Corporation (GEEDC) – https://www.geedc.org
Minority Community Investment Coalition (MCIC) https://www.mcic.org
Booker T. Washington Center (BTWC) – https://www.btwcenter.org
John F. Kennedy Center (JFK) – https://www.thejfkcenter.org
Martin Luther King Center (MLK) – https://[email protected]
Urban Erie Community Dev. Corporation (UECDC) – https://[email protected]
Multicultural Resource Center (MRC) – https://www.mcrcerie.org
St. James AME Zion – https://www.faithstreet.com
Christ Community – https://www.ccerie.com
Greater Calvary Full Gospel Baptist Church – https://www.gcfgbc.com
Second Harvest Food Bank – https://www.nwpafoodbank.org
“NOT ALL US CAN DO GREAT THINGS.
BUT WE CAN DO SMALL THINGS
WITH GREAT LOVE.”
Darlene Jones, MSW
Director of Social Services