School Social Work Week Highlights Need for Integrated Health and Social Care
School social work week gives us an opportunity to thank social workers, the unsung heroes who advocate for students and their families across the country. At Unite Us, our work in partnership with school districts surfaces the growing social needs of youth and their families and the incredible opportunity to support districts in this work. From 2020 to 2021, the number of youth clients (ages 17 and under) being served on the Unite Us Platform increased by 300 percent, the largest percent increase in any age category. We now connect over 4,000 schools serving their youth and families in need through the secure nationwide network of health and social care providers powered by Unite Us.
Getting Kids and Families the Support They Need
School social workers, teachers, and administrators balance many roles. Increased social care needs experienced through the course of the pandemic have added additional layers of complicated coordination on many districts. Coordinating care through Unite Us helps alleviate these burdens making connections to care outside the school easier and more seamless for the team.
The top co-occurring needs across our networks for youth clients are:
- Food assistance and benefits navigation
- Housing, shelter, and utilities
- Food assistance, housing, and shelter
How We Work with Schools
Food insecurity doesn’t exist in isolation but rather is a multi-faceted issue with a number of root causes. According to Unite Us Platform data, the three most common co-occurring needs are housing, income support, and individual and family support.
- Integrating with a Student Information System (SIS) to seamlessly and securely connect students and families in need to community-based services
- Partnering with state and local child and family service agencies to deliver critical coordinated care
- Building alliances with organizations such as Every Kids Sports and Positive Partnership Champions for Children
- Improving the quality of Medicaid-covered health and social care for children by collaborating with the Integrating Care for Kids (InCK) model
One of our many partners is the Opportunities Industrialization Center (OIC) of Oklahoma County, a non-profit organization dedicated to adult education.
“OIC has always understood the importance of providing wraparound services to our clients in conjunction with the education and training we provide. Working as a Unite Us partner, we are able to focus on what we do best and still meet the needs of our students. In helping someone learn computers or get their high school equivalency diploma, Unite Us and the other partners help us to focus on that mission while allowing other partners to focus on theirs! Unite Us is good for Oklahoma City, and we are glad to be a part of it!”
–Adam Dole, COO of Bento
Removing Barriers and Championing Health Equity
By connecting students and families with our expansive network of providers, we are ensuring no one falls through the cracks. Our team of more than 1,000 members works collaboratively to connect care to those most vulnerable.
“In my former role as a school social worker, I supported students in many different ways to ensure they could cultivate and foster a lifelong love of learning. While I could support mental and behavioral health needs directly, the technology we have today could have replaced the time I spent creating a supportive network of services.”
–Danika Mills, Unite Us State Network Director, North Carolina and Arkansas.
While we are proud of our network of over 4,000 schools, this is just the start of our long-term investment. Our goal is to onboard more than 10,000 schools in the next year and connect students and families with over 500,000 community programs.
“We’ll continue concentrating efforts to improve student and family health, ensuring communities and school systems can seamlessly connect students with services from early childhood through adult life.”
–Dan Brillman, Co-Founder and CEO of Unite Us
We applaud social workers across the country–we recognize their heroic efforts to help students deal with emotional and academic challenges. We’re proud to partner with these dedicated individuals.
We are committed to serving students and families across the country. Learn more about how your school district can join our growing network.
About Unite Us
Unite Us is the nation’s leading software company bringing sectors together to improve the health and well-being of communities. We drive the collaboration to identify, deliver, and pay for services that impact whole-person health. Through Unite Us’ national network and software, community-based organizations, government agencies, and healthcare organizations are all connected to better collaborate to meet the needs of the individuals in their communities.