Marlborough school program offers help for families in need

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Marlborough school program offers help for families in need
 A file photo shows the Goodnow School in Marlborough. (Photo/Dakota Antelman)

MARLBOROUGH – Last year, Marlborough Public Schools began offering a special program to assist less fortunate families.

Called “Wraparound Services,” it offers a range of programs to address needs, such as health care and holiday gifts.

During the School Committee meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 27, Kayla Flaherty-Dawson, a licensed social worker and the coordinator for Bilingual Wraparound Services, presented a slideshow on how the program has fared in its first year.

“It’s a holistic model to meet the needs of students and their families,” said Flaherty-Dawson.

Services are offered to students and families who are experiencing trauma, hunger, depression, anxiety about housing, lack of health insurance and more.

For the 2021-22 school year, Wraparound Services handled 136 cases, for a total of 405 individuals served.

Flaherty-Dawson said that for this school year, the program has had 73 cases rolled over from last year, and it has already received 47 new referrals.

Referrals for these services can come from school nurses, education team leaders or school adjustment counselors.

Flaherty-Dawson said the program provides consultation and resources for school staff. Some of this work has included creating fliers in English, Spanish and Portuguese to distribute to families about local doctors who accept MassHealth, free medical clinics, local food pantries and how to access Wraparound Services.

In addition, the program teamed up with Toys for Tots and the Marlborough Rotary to provide toys and gifts for 110 students.

For homeless families, the program offers additional services, thanks to a grant from the federal Department of Education, including gift cards for food, help with transportation, diapers and clothing.

For example, the program provided dress pants and shoes for a student who got a job and a stroller for a mother so she could visit the local food pantry with her baby.

“We do see a real need for services,” she said.

For information about Wraparound Services, Flaherty-Dawson may be contacted at 508-460-3509, ext. 13836, or [email protected].

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