The services provided at each SchoolsPlus site will respect and address the unique needs of the community. Each site has a regional advisory committee with representation from various government departments such as Justice, Community Services, Education, and Health and Wellness. The advisory committees help identify gaps in services or resources and help come up with solutions.
This will lead to enhanced use of school facilities by students, families, and the community.
SchoolsPlus is starting at sites in all eight school boards in the province:
Each school board has chosen a group of schools as a starting place for developing the model. Each of the eight boards has a SchoolsPlus facilitator and SchoolsPlus Community Outreach Workers. They are the liaison between the school and the community. Their job is to advocate, co-ordinate, and expand services for students and families. They will help families navigate the system and get the services they need.
Each of the school boards have established a SchoolsPlus Advisory Committee with representation from government departments (Health and Wellness, Education, Community Services, and Justice), the Child and Youth Strategy, and non-government and community organizations. The purpose of the committee is to identify opportunities to enhance and expand the array of services and programs for children, youth, and their families.
SchoolsPlus will serve all children, youth, and families, particularly those for whom additional supports and services are needed for their success.
“All families benefit from some level of support.” - Our Kids Are Worth It (Province of Nova Scotia, 2007, p.17)
Referrals come primarily from school program planning teams. Service providers may also make referrals, and students and families may refer themselves.
The SchoolsPlus facilitator is invited to the school program planning team meetings as required.
The intensity of the response to a referral will depend upon the level of need identified at the time of referral. Sometimes this will mean a simple sharing of contact information to connect families with the services they need. At other times, the facilitator may organize a meeting with a number of service providers to create an action plan for a family. We call this action plan an individual comprehensive service plan.
The vision for SchoolsPlus is that schools become a convenient place for government and other community services to be delivered to families.
We believe we can provide better, more coordinated services to children, youth and their families if the different service providers can talk and share information about a child. When we talk about sharing information, important and valid concerns are raised with respect to protection of privacy.
To ensure that the necessary sharing of information is done in compliance with all relevant legislation, the service providers participating in SchoolsPlus have developed a common Consent Form. The form permits service providers to share personal information about clients with other service providers that are also serving the youth. This common Consent Form is the product of a lot of careful work. It was reviewed for compliance with all applicable legislation and approved by the privacy leads at the Department of Health and Wellness, Department of Community Services, Department of Justice, and District Health Authorities. It was also sent to FOIPOP/information access and privacy administrator in the school boards.
The SchoolsPlus Consent Form is the form that we need to use for clients of SchoolsPlus and replaces the individual agency consent forms. The common Consent Form has streamlined the administration of consent. SchoolsPlus staff will administer the one common Consent Form directly to youth or their families, and will share copies of the form to reassure our partners and service providers that they may share personal information as necessary and beneficial to the youth.
A Consent Form has tailored to each of the school boards, featuring the individual school board logo. The common Consent Form is only to be used for the SchoolsPlus program and will not replace the consent forms that organizations complete if the student is not involved with SchoolsPlus.
The Consent Form includes:
An Information Sharing Quick Reference Guide (English/French) provides guidance for staff involved with SchoolsPlus on how and when to share information about children, youth, and families.
The information we want to collect, use, or share is listed on the consent form. Service providers will only collect, use, and share information that is necessary to create a plan for your child, deliver services to your child, and to monitor and report on your child’s progress in the program.
Information sharing in SchoolsPlus is privacy- compliant and simple. It is based on the principle of informed consent. The information that is collected, used, or shared is listed on the consent form. Service providers will only collect, use, and share information that is necessary to create a plan for your child, deliver services to your child, and to monitor and report on your child’s progress in the program.
If youth or parents have questions or concerns about how personal information is being managed, they may start by contacting the access and privacy (FOIPOP) manager in their school board.