Technology can help coordinate educational and social services by reducing duplicate paperwork and ensuring that children don't fall through the cracks. That's the goal in Santa Rosa County, Florida, as school officials implement a 1990 state law permitting them to create "Full-Service Schools."
Using computer networks, the district's fifteen schools and local social service providers are building a common database. This allows agencies to share pertinent information about children they serve, from changes of address to awards and achievements. As a bonus, the networks link schools to the Internet and to each other. Ongoing technology training for teachers and paraprofessionals helps to ensure that full advantage is made of the technology.
Technology hasn't replaced the human touch in this county. Multidisciplinary teams meet regularly at schools to provide comprehensive case management to children and families. Integrated educational, health, and social services are offered at or near the school site.
In collaboration with the state, the county also offers a low-cost, sliding-scale health plan for children. Adults can go to schools for basic education, college courses, career assistance, and parenting and employment classes.