Journal Issue: School-Linked Services Volume 2 Number 1 Spring 1992
- Section 1 of Executive Order W-1-91, dated January 8, 1991, and signed by California Governor Pete Wilson. By the fall of 1991, legislation was passed that established the Healthy Start program, under which up to 100 planning and implementation grants will be awarded to support collaborations among school districts and other agencies around the state. The collaborations will provide health and social services to students and their families. 1991 Cal. Stat. ch. 759 (California Senate Bill 620).
- Taylor, P. Bringing social services into schools: Holistic approach offers health and child care, family counseling. Washington Post, May 2, 1991, at A1.
- In New York, the legislature has appropriated funds since 1987 to create and support community schools that provide extended hours and services to children and their families. The New Jersey legislature has supported for 3 years the School Based Youth Services Program, in which high schools provide a set of health, mental health, and employment services to their students. In Kentucky, as part of a court-ordered overhaul of the education system, the legislature has mandated that, by June 1995, resource centers be established in every elementary school and junior and senior high school. The purpose of the centers is to link students with needed health or social services or to provide the services directly. These actions are just a few of the more large-scale efforts at school-linked services that states are initiating.
- Committee for Economic Development. Unfinished agenda. New York: CED, 1991, pp. 21, 25. Families with multiple problems "need help in determining what services they need, assistance in finding and gaining access to those services, and support to help them successfully utilize those services." The report goes on to state: "[The] school itself can provide a convenient institutional focus for making this linkage because it is the institution to which almost all children between five and seventeen have access."
- For a description of Joining Forces and its activities, see Levy, J.E., and Copple, C. Joining Forces, A report from the first year. Alexandria, VA: National Association of State Boards of Education, 1989.
- Collaboration includes "jointly developing and agreeing to a set of common goals and directions; sharing responsibility for obtaining those goals; and working to achieve those goals using the expertise of each collaborator." Bruner, C. Thinking collaboratively: Ten questions and answers to help policy makers improve children's services. Washington, DC: Education and Human Services Consortium, 1991, p. 6.
- In her book, Within Our Reach, Breaking the Cycle of Disadvantage, Lisbeth Schorr discusses the high cost of "rotten outcomes" for children. These outcomes include delinquency, dropping out, and teen pregnancy. She attributes such outcomes not to a single risk factor, but to an accumulation of risk factors, both biological and environmental, that interact to make poor outcomes much more likely. Her search for programs that effectively address some of these risk factors and reduce adverse outcomes leads to the conclusion that "programs that succeed . . . are intensive, comprehensive and flexible. . . . [Their] climate is created by skilled, committed professionals who establish respectful and trusting relationships and respond to the individual needs of those they serve." Schorr, L., with Schorr, D. Within our reach, Breaking the cycle of disadvantage. New York: Anchor Books, 1988, p. 259.
The contention that poor outcomes for children can be reduced by recognizing the interconnection of children's health, education, and social problems and structuring a system to effectively deal with these as a whole, rather than in a fragmented fashion, is at the core of the movement toward school-linked services. See, for example, the Farrow and Joe, Levy and Shepardson, and Morrill articles in this journal issue.
- For example, between 1983 and 1989, the number of children in foster care rose from 275,000 to 340,000. In 1989 the number of minors arrested for murder was almost one-third greater than the number arrested in 1983. The number of young people held in correctional facilities on any given day jumped between 1977 and 1987 from just over 73,000 to almost 92,000. National Commission on Children. Beyond rhetoric, A new American agenda for children and families. Washington, DC: NCC, 1991, pp. 227, 284.
- A family with multiple problems can receive benefits and services whose costs total tens of thousands of dollars annually. As Bruner writes: "Every state has its $50,000 families. . . . " See note no. 6, Bruner, p. 5.
Such public expenditures, however, are not the only cost of poor outcomes for children. As Schorr documented, business leaders and policymakers alike are concerned that continued failure to educate all American children will erode our national productivity, international competitiveness, and standard of living. See note no. 7, Schorr, chap. 1.
- Melaville, A. and Blank, M.J. What it takes: Structuring interagency partnerships to connect children and families with comprehensive services. Washington, DC: Education and Human Services Consortium, 1991, pp. 6–8.
- Nonprofit organizations that are focusing on, and in some instances promoting, integrated services for children include, but are not limited to, the Institute for Educational Leadership, Washington, D.C.; the Center for the Study of Social Policy, Washington, D.C.; the Family Resource Coalition, Chicago; and the Youth Law Center, San Francisco. For a list of resources for additional information and assistance, see note no. 10, Melaville and Blank, Appendix B.
- Research and policy groups exploring approaches to integrated services for children include, but are not limited to, the Bush Center for Child Policy, Yale University; The Chapin Hall Center for Children, University of Chicago; and the California Policy Council.
- A large number of foundations have funded projects relating to school-linked or integrated services for children. In late summer 1991, the Foundation for Child Development of New York convened 15 of these foundations to discuss their experiences in funding such projects. In addition, a group of foundations in Northern California met regularly throughout 1991 to explore school-linked service projects.
- See note no. 10, Melaville and Blank; note no. 6, Bruner; Office of the Inspector General, United States Department of Health and Human Services. Services integration: A twenty-year retrospective. Washington, DC: Office of the Inspector General (OEI-01-91-00580), January 1991; and Office of the Inspector General, United States Department of Health and Human Services. Services integration for families and children in crisis. Washington, DC: Oflice of the Inspector General (OEI-09-90-00890), January 1991.
- AMERICA 2000, An Education Strategy, recognizes the many problems that children bring to school with them and that can interfere with their learning. Although the report states that schools cannot "replace the missing elements in communities and families," it also asserts that schools can "contribute to the easing of these conditions. They can sometimes house additional services. They can welcome tutors, mentors, and caring adults." The fourth track of the strategy, "Each of our communities must become a place where learning can happen," calls on community agencies and leadership to join with the schools in ensuring that the six national educational goals are met. The report promises that the cabinet "will seek ways to maximize program flexibility and effectiveness in meeting the needs of children and communities, including streamlined eligibility requirements for federal programs, better integration of services, and reduced red tape." U.S. Department of Education, AMERICA 2000, An education strategy. Washington, DC: U.S. Dept. of Education, (ED/0591-13), 1991.
- In a recent article, Harold Hodgkinson detailed the "spectacular changes that have occurred in the nature of the children who come to school." He contends that "at least one third of the nation's children are at risk of school failure even before they enter kindergarten" because of such factors as poverty, in utero drug exposure, lack of parental supervision, homelessness, and child abuse. He asserts that until we pay attention to these changes, our efforts at education reform will not produce important results. Hodgkinson, H. Reform vs. reality. Phi Delta Kappan, September 1991.
- The recent report What It Takes drew a distinction between collaboration and cooperation. According to the report, a situation called for collaboration if the "need and intent is to change fundamentally the way services are designed and delivered throughout the system." Collaborators can go "beyond the assessment and advisory activities characteristic of most cooperative system level initiatives" and "can authoritatively call for new directions in system-wide programming and make the budgetary revisions and administrative changes necessary to implement them." See note no. 10, Melaville and Blank, pp. 15, 17.
- "All partners must share responsibility and authority when establishing goals and developing plans to meet those goals." At the top administrative level, this sharing may be seen as "giving up power." Collaboration "allows others to challenge the assumptions of one's profession or occupation." See note no. 6, Bruner, pp. 17–18.
- As discussed above in note no. 7, Schorr called for such "comprehensive, intensive and flexible" services to serve children and families effectively. See also note no. 10, Melaville and Blank, p. 9.
- In a recent article, Morrill and Gerry identified several hypotheses about the integration and coordination of services. One hypothesis is that integration will lead to increased access and utilization of needed services and thus to improved life outcomes. Another is that integration will lead to improved efficiency and cost reduction. Morrill, W.A., and Gerry, M.H. Integrating the delivery of services to school-aged children at risk. Toward a description of American experience and experimentation. Paper prepared for the conference on children and youth at risk sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. February 6, 1991, p. 4.
- "[H]igh quality services must empower children and families. . . . [They] should have a considerable voice in identifying and planning how best to meet their own needs." See note no. 10, Melaville and Blank, p. 11.
- School-linked services should not be seen only as attempts to prevent specific problems or to intervene where problems have already occurred. Many believe that service systems should also provide basic information and support that can benefit all families. See the Levy and Shepardson article in this journal issue.
- See Schorr, L., and Both, D. Attributes of effective services for young children: A brief survey of current knowledge and its implications for program and policy development. In Effective services for young children. L. Schorr, D. Both, and C. Copple, eds. Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 1991, p. 33. The report summarizes a workshop of the National Forum on the Future of Children and Families.
- See note no. 6, Bruner, p. 18.
- See note no. 5, Levy and Copple, p. 1.
- See Lewis, A. Restructuring America's schools. Arlington, VA: American Association of School Administrators, 1989, chap. 8.
- See, for example, the description of the Healthy Start initiative of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in the Gerry and Certo article in this journal issue.
- For example, in a recent report the National Commission on Child Welfare and Family Preservation proposed a system of services "to strengthen and preserve families experiencing problems before they become acute, based on realistic, concrete, early intervention, delivered through a community-based service mechanism." National Commission on Child Welfare and Family Preservation. A commitment to change. Washington, DC: American Public Welfare Association, 1991, p. vi.
- In a recent book Chester Finn wrote: "To the extent we can get children's other needs met, they will learn more in school. Insofar as we can free schools from direct responsibility for dealing with those difficulties . . . we will be more successful in teaching algebra and civics. . . . [That] does not mean isolating the schools. They should be part of a coordinated effort on behalf of children. But in few cases should schools be the primary coordinators, and in none ought they be expected to solve these other problems on their own." Finn, Jr., C.E. We must take charge. New York: Free Press, 1991.
- Both New York and California have recently passed legislation to support demonstration projects in which communities form councils with representative governance. The California legislation was vetoed by Governor Wilson (California Assembly Bill 831); the New York legislation became law (New York 1990 Session Laws, chap. 657).