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School-Based Services Program expands to support schools and children across Oklahoma

Elisabeth Slay
The Shawnee News-Star

School-Based Services Program expands to support schools and children across Oklahoma

​OKLAHOMA CITY – Oklahoma Human Services (OKDHS) is excited to announce the expansion of the School-Based Services Program in collaboration with the Oklahoma State Department of Education (OSDE) and local school districts. This program expansion will allow the agency and partnered schools to hire 40 more School-Based Specialists (SBS) to support children and families across the state. The application process for new schools interested in partnering closes on Aug. 4.

The School-Based Services Program is a contractual and collaborative partnership between OKDHS and local school districts. Through the partnership, a SBS is placed in the school with the dedicated purpose of providing a human services connection and support to the children and families served by the school, as well as the school’s teachers and administrators. The SBS makes a significant impact on the well-being of their communities, improving outcomes and reducing risk factors for the students and families they serve.

“Our School-Based Specialists offer critical help and hope to communities by connecting students and their families to local and state resources,” said OKDHS Director Justin Brown. “This compassionate and professional support and collaboration with local school systems helps students navigate out-of-classroom obstacles that would affect their success in the classroom and allows teachers to focus on teaching.”

School administrators interested in learning how to bring a SBS to their school may visit the School-Based Services page on the OKDHS website to learn more about how the program may benefit their school and students. From this webpage, they may also view program assurances, sample contracts and costs, and make application by Aug. 4.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister applauded the collaboration between OSDE and OKDHS.

“Schools will be in the midst of a global pandemic, and children will need extra supports more than ever,” Hofmeister said. ”OSDE’s Office of Student Support has helped define the role of the School-Based Specialist and the development of the application and selection process. We also worked with OKDHS and other stakeholders to develop the training for the selected applicants who will fill these much-needed positions.

“We are proud of this partnership and the positive impact it will have for so many Oklahoma students.”