The Children's Alliance

Approve the budget recommendation for additional support staff in Charlotte Mecklenburg’s Schools PDF Print Email
Tuesday, 01 May 2018 00:00

Approve the budget recommendation for additional support staff in Charlotte Mecklenburg’s Schools

The budget request from Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools for additional counselors, social workers and psychologists is not only a necessity for our schools but long overdue. It’s unfortunate that it took a national tragedy like the incident in Parkland to force our communities to begin to seriously respond to the social and emotional needs of our children and youth. But now that our eyes are wide open we must act. The requested positions of counselors, social workers and psychologists are currently significantly understaffed based on national recommended ratios. For instance, the national recommendation for school social workers is 1 to every 250 students. In our CMS schools our current staffing is 1 to every 2,957 students. That is more than 10 times the amount of students that should be assigned to a school social worker. Can we truly expect our staff to effectively respond to our student’s needs at those staffing levels?

The issue of mental health amongst children and youth is of paramount importance in today’s society. One in five children in the US suffers from a mental health issue or learning disorder. They need the extra supports our counselors, social workers and psychologists can offer to be successful in school. Children living in poverty are at even higher risk for needing additional supports. School social workers help families to ensure their children’s basic needs are being met and that children come to school ready to learn. In Mecklenburg County, 35% of our children are classified as low socioeconomic status. That’s over 50,000 students that need some extra help from the recommended student services positions.

Every child in our community deserves the opportunity to succeed in school. Our county must take the responsibility of providing the supports necessary to make that opportunity a reality. Based on national accepted standards, the recommended 60 additional positions will still leave a significant gap in the positions needed to reach those standards but it will get us closer to effectively meeting the needs of our children.

The Children’s Alliance is a group of professionals representing 40 organizations in Mecklenburg County providing services to the most vulnerable children and youth in our community. Our mission is to advocate for the needs of children in Mecklenburg County. The Children’s Alliance fully supports School Superintendate Wilcox’s budget recommendation for 60 additional student services positions and taking the next step to ensuring the future success for all students in our community.

 

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