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SBIRT - School Social Work

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Role of the School Social Worker

School social workers provide mental health support to students who are struggling with mental, social, and emotional health challenges across all domains: school, home, and community. School social workers...

  • Support students who may need more focused social emotional support
  • Coordinate care with outside service providers
  • Partner with caregivers and families to support their student's success

Students are connected with the school social worker or the social worker intern through referral from their SEL or College and Career counselors, teachers, parents, other students, or themselves.

SBIRT (Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral To)

In the summer of 2022, Kennedy Catholic High School was fortunate to receive a grant from the King County Best Start for Kids initiative to help us implement a school-based screening, brief intervention, and referral to services (SB-SBIRT) program. The goal of the SB-SBIRT program is to promote students’ physical, emotional, and social well-being. The SB-SBIRT program is also designed to mitigate drug, alcohol, and nicotine use among our high school students. 

Last year, we implemented this program across our high school population.  We were able to identify students who were struggling with, or had struggled in the past, with anxiety, depression, disordered eating, challenges with communication, disrupted peer relationships, and simply worry about classes, grades, performance, and balancing a social-school life balance. In cases where counselors were worried about a student’s safety, we developed a plan and called home to involve parents/caregivers in keeping their student safe.    

We are screening students again this year using the same tool we used last year, the Check Yourself screener. The screener is used to help us identify students who may be struggling with issues and barriers that make it difficult for them to thrive in school. The results are used to help us connect students with resources and supports to help them be successful at school, at home, and in their community. And, because we now have historical data on seniors, juniors, and sophomores, we can track progress and improvement not only with the student but also with how our school faculty and staff support student success at school. 

We are starting our screening process with freshmen, then sophomores, followed by our upperclassmen. The screener is voluntary, and information is kept confidential. Caregivers and students have the ability to opt out of taking the screener - that opt out notice is sent two weeks prior to the date of screening.      

Other local school districts have been successfully implementing this program since 2018. It has allowed these school districts to successfully identify, support, and connect their students with services and resources to help them be successful in school. You can visit Highline School for more information on how the program has worked for them. You can also visit King County Human Services Department for a data snapshot on SBIRT. 

If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to our SBIRT Coordinator, Susan Tiffany by email or phone at (206) 957-9721.