Intervention partnership may start again

Program would see county DSS work with GESD

JOHNSTOWN — The Fulton County Department of Social Services on Tuesday requested it enter into contract with the Gloversville Enlarged School District to reinstate the School Intervention Partnership, or SIP program, at Gloversville Middle School and Gloversville High School.

DSS Commissioner Anne Solar asked the Board of Supervisors’ Human Services Committee to re-establish the SIP program.

In the program, DSS provides preventive caseworker services from the school.

The committee supported the contract, for a program that Solar said may start Oct. 1. The full board will finalize the contract Sept. 10.

Costs for the 12-month caseworker is approximately $70,000. The county is 100 percent reimbursed and will not pay anything, while the federal, state and district kick in shares.

“This is where a caseworker is basically assigned and works out of the school,” Solar said. “These are cases the department would handle anyway.”

She said the DSS worker will work as an “advocate” for the secondary student in various ways.

Solar said the Gloversville Enlarged School District is requesting the program again after terminating it in the past. She said a benefit for the county is that the district will pay the local share of the caseworker’s salary and fringes.

County Administrative Officer Jon Stead, noting the district has ended the program in he past, asked if DSS had a “disruption” when the program was suddenly ended.

To some degree, Solar said that yes her department had to abolish two positions when the district decided to terminate SIP. She said DSS “took a hit” in personnel after that occurred.

“Have we had any discussions about their commitment to this?” Stead asked.

Gloversville 1st Ward Supervisor Marie Born said the school districts are probably committing more resources with increasing danger to schools.

“They’re being proactive,” she said.

Solar said SIP allows DSS to have regular contact with students during the school day, be an active partner in handling disruptive or problem behaviors, reinforce school expectations with the family, and support the family in navigating the education, mental health and probation systems. She said the program provides the caseworker a broader understanding of the issues facing the child and family and allows for a more timely response.

The SIP caseworker generally has a smaller caseload than other DSS Preventive Unit workers so they can provide more frequent contact and services to the children and families, Solar said.

“Increased knowledge and involvement are key to successfully working with these families and maintaining children outside the foster care system,” she said.

Gloversville 2nd Ward Supervisor Frank Lauria Jr. stated he was “shocked the school district would end” the program

The committee also formally passed a separate proposed resolution to reinstate a vacant caseworker position for the SIP program.

Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at manich@leaderherald.com.

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