Preferred Name

Stephanie McGrew

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Date of Graduation

Summer 2019

Document Type


Degree Name

Educational Specialist (EdS)


Department of Graduate Psychology


Tammy D. Gilligan

Deborah Kipps-Vaughan

Debbie Sturm


Children in foster care are an important group of students who have many needs. Due to the numerous risk factors that they face, it is of the utmost importance that we maximize the amount of protective factors in their lives, one of these being inter-professional communication. Without collaboration, school and social services professionals may not be aware of a child’s educational strengths and needs, making it likely that no one is advocating for them (Zetlin, Weinberg, & Kimm, 2004). A survey regarding inter-professional collaboration between Local Departments of Social Services (LDSS) and school systems was emailed to a convenience sample of LDSS social workers in Virginia. These individuals were listed as their departments’ Education Stability Liaison (ESL) on the Virginia Department of Education website. For departments who did not have an ESL listed, the contact information of the director was looked up online to be emailed. Data from the survey suggests that, although collaboration does occur, there is some level of dissatisfaction on behalf of social workers. Additionally, social workers do not perceive disconnect between the LEA and LDSS; however, previous research indicates that school psychologists did perceive disconnect (Rittenhouse, 2008). Data indicates that more training is needed both by social workers and school professionals in order to maximize effective inter-professional collaboration. Therefore, increasing cross-trainings will benefit both LDSS and school systems. Importantly, school psychologists are equipped with expertise in trauma informed practices as well as educational, social, and emotional needs, and can be an integral part of fostering this communication with schools.