Family Service Bureau (FSB) is celebrating five years of partnership with the Newark Public Schools. In response to the need for increased mental health support in the community, FSB began reaching out to the schools where students were facing challenges that often impede their academic success. Services include individual, family and group counseling. The goal is to help provide schools with additional support that allows children to give their full attention to academic achievement.
FSB started its on-site school counseling initiative back in 2009 with the YES Center, an alternative high school in Newark. Since then, the program has flourished and expanded services to several other Newark Public Schools. Funding for the initiative is provided by Essex County and through private organizations.
Terrell Proctor, a Licensed Professional Counselor, worked with students at Central High School and stated that students benefited greatly from FSB’s services: “I was a Student Support Specialist at Central High School when the school decided to contract with Family Service Bureau for counseling services. The experience was a fantastic one,” he said.
“I found the services to be useful. There were many cases that involved conflict, grief and anger, which needed to be addressed throughout the building. Once counseling started, there was a positive change with respect to the school climate. Furthermore, offering the counseling services provided students with an emotional outlet. Most students felt that having the services at school allowed them to be in control of dealing with life stressors without having their parents take part in the process, by transporting them to and from counseling.”
Proctor continued, “The counseling services provide a sense of convenience for staff and students. Students also felt a connection with the Family Service Bureau counselors. For instance, once the session started, the students recognized they were going to get all the attention without being interrupted by someone knocking on the door with another student who may need services, which would typically be the case on a normal school day when a support staff member is dealing with students within the school. The staff also was able to identify all the students who could really benefit from counseling. The feedback collected after the program was implemented proved the program was much appreciated and an overall success at Central High School.”
Rosa Sanchez, a Guidance Counselor at McKinley Elementary School, said her school has collaborated with FSB for three years by offering on-site counseling to students. This collaboration has been “wonderful,” Sanchez said.
“The school is very lucky to have FSB provide counseling services to the students. I have received positive feedback from the parents,” she added. Through the on-site counseling program, FSB has been active in resolving crisis situations, utilizing various intervention techniques and providing parents with supportive resources. For additional information regarding the Site-Based School Counseling Program, please contact Program Coordinator Mary Jenkins at 973-412-2056, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.