Who are school social workers?

School social workers are Specialized Instructional Support professionals who hold a Master’s degree in social work and who have specialized training and experience to work effectively in schools and with children. This training includes special education law, school law, and systems theory.  School Social Workers  are the link between the home, school and community in providing direct as well as indirect services to students, families and school personnel to promote and support students’ academic, social, emotional and behavioral success.

What are some of the specific services that School Social Workers provide?



  • Participating in special education planning and assessment meetings
  • Addressing problems in a child’s home or community that affect the child’s adjustment in school
  • Gathering a social and/or developmental history on a child with a disability
  • Counseling (group, individual and/or family)
  • Mobilizing family, school, and community resources needed to enable a child to learn as effectively as possible
  • Assisting in developing positive behavioral intervention strategies


  • Providing crisis intervention
  • Developing intervention strategies to increase academic success
  • Facilitating conflict resolution and anger management
  • Educating a child to develop appropriate social interaction skills
  • Promoting understanding and acceptance of self and others


  • Working with parents to facilitate their support in their child’s school adjustment
  • Alleviating family stress to enable the child to function more effectively in school & community
  • Assisting parents to access programs available to students with special needs
  • Assisting parents in accessing and utilizing school and community resources


  • Providing staff with essential information to  better understand factors (cultural, societal, economic, familial, health, etc.) affecting a student’s performance and behavior
  • Assessing students with mental health concerns
  • Developing staff in-service training programs
  • Assisting teachers with behavior management
  • Providing direct support to staff


  • Obtaining and coordinating community resources to meet students’ needs
  • Helping school districts receive adequate support from social and mental health agencies
  • Advocating for new and improved community/school service to meet the needs of students and families
  • Helping the system respond effectively to each child’s needs


  • Assist in developing and implementing educational programs for children for exceptional children
  • Developing alternative programs for drop-outs, truants, delinquents, etc.
  • Identifying and reporting child abuse and neglect
  • Providing consultation regarding school law and school policy including IDEA and Section 504
  • Providing case management for students and families requiring multiple resources
Information from SSWAA.org


How SSW’s generate revenue for their district

Mental Health Awareness Assemblies SSWAA

Intern manual example: editable text format

Overlapping and Unique Roles of Pupil Services

NASW Standards for School Social Work Services



  • to advocate for the development and effective delivery of school social work services in the state of Ohio
  • to establish an maintain collaborative relationships with local, state and national educational, mental health, medical,
    juvenile justice, and child welfare entities
  • to facilitate the education and professional growth of school social workers
  • to study, recommend, and support legislation pertinent to the needs of students, families, and the profession of school
    social work
  • to promote programs, activities, and research within school systems leading to improved quality of life, enhanced learning
    and employment opportunities for all students


Learn more about the history of our profession!

A new website has recently been launched.www.schoolsocialworkhistory.com  is dedicated to the preservation of school social work literature and history. This is a non-profit site with no charges or fees to access the information. This site is not affiliated with any association, university or publisher.


History of the Ohio School Social Work Association