Dec. 2, 2020 – Resources to Support FamiliesPosted by Dr. Elizabeth Keenan on 12/2/2020
The COVID-19 pandemic has created a number of challenges in the lives of families within our school communities. Many families are wrestling with challenges regarding physical health, mental health, food insecurity, technology inequity, loss of employment, housing uncertainty, isolation from family and friends, and fears about their student’s educational progress. These challenges affect each family differently and it is our goal to support families equitably.
The SSD website includes a list of resources available to families, and we’re including information below about a variety of supports available from organizations throughout the St. Louis community.
United Way 2-1-1 Helpline
Some families may find it easier to dial 2-1-1 to speak with a trained professional on the resource helpline supported by the United Way of Greater St. Louis. This helpline is available 24 hours a day and will help individuals access food, shelter, health care, support groups for individuals with mental illnesses, and a safe path out of physical and/or emotional abuse.
St. Louis County Library
Our community is also very fortunate to have a significant amount of resources available through the St. Louis County Library (SLCL). Although the SLCL may be subject to government closures for safety their online options and curbside services are an excellent resource for families. SLCL is currently providing families with free diapers, period supply kits, and drive-through meals several days a week via curbside services.
Special Education Foundation
The Special Education Foundation (SEF), whose mission is to assist students with disabilities in St. Louis County, is also a powerful resource for students and families. The SEF aims to empower students with disabilities by giving them the tools and opportunities they need to succeed. The foundation supports students with adaptive equipment, hearing aids, and critical needs. Families can visit the SEF website or contact their student’s SSD case manager about applying.
Resources for Families Facing Financial Hardships
- Community Action Agency of St. Louis offers programs to help with energy and housing assistance, food insecurity, and financial education and employment training.
- Society of St. Vincent DePaul supports families with car repairs, utility assistance, and bedding when funds are available.
Virtual Recreation Opportunities
Families and students are also looking for opportunities to safely socialize with peers. Within our community, there are several agencies that offer virtual recreation and support opportunities for students and families.
Mental Health Resources
People feeling overwhelmed with the additional stressors of these uncertain times may find support from the National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI). The organization provides mental health education and support groups for individuals with mental health diagnoses and their families and friends to help them navigate treatment and recovery.
Resources Available from SSD
- SSD school social workers are available in SSD’s schools and programs and in our 22 partner districts to support students and families in need.
- SSD’s Parent Education and Diversity Awareness team provides support to help families navigate the special education process, consultation, and problem-solving guidance. Virtual workshops are available to support parents and families in developing and reinforcing skills that are important to students’ growth and education.
- "Ask the EPS" video series – click here to watch the first video featuring SSD’s autism effective practice specialists.
- SSD’s technical high schools are offering students and families an opportunity to learn from industry experts during their live Tech Tuesday sessions that run through Dec. 15. The virtual sessions are hosted on YouTube each Tuesday at 2 p.m. Click here to see the full schedule and to get links to each session.
SSD’s Family Engagement team is always open to family input regarding their needs (training, partnerships, community resources, etc.) and offers an opportunity for families and community members to share with us through this feedback form.