Testimony on Public Hearing for School Safety, January 25, 2013

Public Hearing on School Safety

January 25th, 2013

Increasing the Number of School Social Workers in Public Schools Throughout the State of Connecticut

Submitted by: Joan Letendre, Ph.D, LCSW

West Hartford, CT

January 25, 2013


Dear Members of the Gun Violence Committee,


As a faculty member of the University of Connecticut School of Social Work whose research and teaching interests focus on school social work and violence prevention, I applaud Senator Bye’s recommendations to staff each Connecticut school with a school social worker. School social workers have a 100+ year history of advocating for vulnerable children in schools. The primary focus of this work has been to identify children who need additional social-emotional support, to provide services if assessment determines the need, to consult with teachers who may need additional support in the classroom and to act as a liaison between families and the school. Although all members of the school inter-disciplinary teams have as a goal, supporting students who experience difficulty in the school environment, social work is uniquely qualified to address multiple systems that may impact the problem.


At this period in history, increased numbers of schools are demonstrating the need for competent school social workers to be part of the problem solving process around the violence that impacts the safety of children and adolescents in schools. The efforts to address this problem and engage young isolated children and adolescents in meaningful connections to peers and the schools should be one priority that evolves from the tragedy of Newtown.  School social workers should be part of this problem solving process offering expertise in development of safe and caring school environments.


Please contact me if I can be of further assistance.





Joan Letendre, Ph.D, LCSW

Associate Professor

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