Drug, alcohol services will be provided for Forest County schools

Transportation is a barrier to service in all rural communities.

That’s why, starting the week of Jan. 15, Family Services of Warren County, Forest-Warren Human Services, and the Forest Area School District will be working together to provide drug and alcohol services in both East and West Forest schools.

Jada DeLoof will be the clinician providing individual therapy as well as prevention/education groups that might be needed in the school setting starting next week, said FSWC Director Mike Philhower.

Just as the motivation to move Aggression Replacement Training (ART) into the school setting to improve outcomes, said Philhower, “providing treatment services in the school increases accessibility to students who need it.”

Services will rotate between East and West Forest schools weekly, and DeLoof will be on-site from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Referrals for students to take advantage of services can come from the school, Children and Youth Services (CYS), juvenile probation, the court system, law enforcement, medical providers, family, and self-referrals, said Philhower.

“If this service is utilized and there is need for other family members who have addiction issues and want options for treatment,” said Philhower, “I am highly interested in pursuing a satellite office in Tionesta.”

For those living in Forest County and in need of services, said Forest Area Schools Superintendent Amanda Hetrick when discussions to provide on-site services began last year, this service has great potential to be of much benefit. Students living in Forest County often need to travel a full day’s distance to obtain services, taking them out of school for whatever time they take to pursue their own mental health. That does not translate to school success, said Hetrick. And, as neither is optional, having services available where they already are could be potentially life-changing for some students.

“We’re excited to be moving forward,” said Hetrick. “We’re hoping to help students develop strong resilience, so that they have fewer barriers in their path to future success.”

Anyone interested in more information about the availablility of services in Forest County schools can contact Family Services of Warren County at (814) 723-1330.