Weekly Feature

2017-08-10 / Local News

Grant provides social work program to Queen of Heaven, Catholic Charities

Catholic Charities of Buffalo’s In-School Social Work Program was the recent recipient of a $411,000 grant from Fidelis Care, the New York State Catholic Health Plan.

According to a press release from Catholic Charities, the social work program collaborates with 14 Catholic Diocesan elementary and middle schools, including Queen of Heaven in West Seneca, throughout Erie, Allegany, Cattaraugus and Niagara counties to provide a part- or full-time social worker to address any non-academic barriers to school success.

This is the 13th consecutive year Fidelis Care has supported the program with a grant to continue its commitment to make a difference in the lives of youth, their families and educators, the release said.

“Every year, the In-School Social Work Program proves itself as a proactive and effective tool in resolving non-academic issues that can hamper a student’s ability to succeed academically,” said Dennis Walczyk, Catholic Charities chief executive officer. “We’re grateful for Fidelis Care’s ongoing commitment to the In-School Social Work Program and, by extension, our work of responding to the social and emotional needs of students and their families.”

The program works to enhance student success by providing counseling and comprehensive character development, skill-building activities for students through short-term individual sessions, small groups and classroom presentations.

According to the release, consultation services are also available for parents, teachers and principals, as well as staff development for teachers and principals to expand strategies and interventions for strengthening student character.

Based on the assessment of other student or parent needs, linkages to other Catholic Charities programs are available, including mental health counseling and emergency financial or food assistance, the release said.

“As a faith-based health plan, the Fidelis Care mission guides our determination to support children and families in the communities that we serve,” said the Rev. Patrick Frawley, Fidelis Care president and chief executive officer. “Our continued collaboration with Catholic Charities of Buffalo supports the long-term success of children in Western New York.”

During the 2016-17 school year, the program served these schools: Notre Dame Academy in South Buffalo; Our Lady of Black Rock and St. Joseph University, both in Buffalo; Catholic Academy in Niagara Falls; St. John the Baptist in Alden; St. Peter in Lewiston; St. Aloysius in Springville; Mary Queen of Angels in Cheektowaga; Southern Tier Catholic in Olean; Immaculate Conception in Wellsville; St. Benedict in Amherst; Our Lady of Victory in Lackawanna; and St. John the Baptist in Tonawanda.

A little less than 2,000 students and their families were directly assisted by the program during the 2016-17 school year, the release said.

Jackie Richter, Catholic Charities director of School Based Services, said Catholic Charities is grateful to Fidelis, and schools greatly appreciate these services and welcome the additional support.

“We are fortunate to work with wonderful students, families and staff from all walks of life in both parochial and public schools through our School Based Services Department. From our In-School Social Work Program to our Site Facilitator Program, we provide an extra layer of support and guidance in myriad ways. We’re passionate about giving students and families a pathway to success,” Richter said.

For more information about the In-School Social Work Program, call 218-1400, ext. 2012 or visit www.ccwny.org.

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