Honoring school social workers for National Professional Social Work Month


When hundreds of books were donated to local homeless shelters in Baltimore County this winter, shelter staff had one specific group to thank: Baltimore County Public Schools’ social workers. That’s because the donations were part of a homeless shelter reading program created by them.

Six years ago, school social work services worked with a local shelter to create a read aloud program that promoted literacy and fostered bonding between students and parents living in the shelter. Based on parent requests, the program quickly expanded to include donations of adult books as well. The broadened program was such a hit that school social workers and pupil personnel workers expanded it to four additional shelters.

“Reading is a wonderful gift that brings joy to children,” said Victoria Cofield-Aber, school social work supervisor. “It helps build imagination and aid in creative thinking, challenging children and adults alike to hope for a better future.”

Program donations are fueled by an annual winter book drive. The most recent drive took place in December and garnered more than 200 books distributed to the Family Crisis Center, INNterim, Hannah Moore Shelter, Nehemiah House, and the Eastern Family Resource Center. In addition to school social workers, pupil personnel workers, school nurses, psychologists, school counselors, administrators and teachers have partnered in the drive.

School social workers provide many services for BCPS students and families. They act in partnership with county agencies to provide support to families in need, facilitate student support groups and contribute to the development of social skills curricula. This March, we salute their efforts during National Professional Social Work Month.

For more information on BCPS social workers and other student support services, go to


Photos and article submitted by Paula Davis, School Social Worker. Picture below of Hillary Hellerbach (School Social Worker), Jill Rosenthal, (School Social Worker), Sharon Ochs ( Coordinator of Pupil Personnel Services). Edited by Pamela Gorsuch, Office of Communication
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