Aug. 14, 2014 – Philadelphia City Council’s Committee on Education heard testimony from education, public health and policy experts on School-Based Family Service (SBFS) Centers, a proposal by City Council President Darrell L. Clarke to address the challenges many School District of Philadelphia students face both in and outside of the classroom.
“This comprehensive approach acknowledges that poverty is Philadelphia’s No. 1 problem. We cannot fix our schools without addressing what ails our children at home,” Council President Clarke wrote in a Philadelphia Inquirer op-ed published Thursday morning.
SBFS Centers would provide services for students as well as families, located in or near schools for convenience and familiarity.
“Why should everybody have to come down to the Municipal Services Building and City Hall to get the appropriate services?” Council President Darrell Clarke told Newsworks in an interview. “There’s a school in every neighborhood in Philadelphia, why don’t we take every school… figure out a way to have the appropriate services, not just for the children, but actually for the family?”
Services for parents or guardians might include: information about how to apply for benefits and services, financial counseling, career training and employment assistance, and tax assistance. Services for students might include: health and wellness clinics, tutoring and mentoring opportunities, and counseling.
“Guess what? If people get more engaged with their schools, they’re going to care more about their school, and I think that it will ultimately improve the educational opportunity for that young person,” Clarke said.