JCESC wins $212,000 to support vulnerable youth | News, Sports, Jobs


STEUBENVILLE – More funding is being provided to the Jefferson County Educational Service Center to help support vulnerable youth in the community.

JCESC was awarded a $212,000 Family and Community Partnership Liaison Grant from the Ohio Department of Education for the 2023-2024 school year to create a second liaison position that will support an existing representative . The purpose of Liaisons is to help children in need by providing community resources to get young people back on track. A $58,000 stipend was provided in the 20-21 school year to create a position that would support school districts and families facing increased needs due to COVID-19. Jennifer Agresta, vice-principal at Harding Middle School, was chosen to fill the role and establish a network of community resources, partners and support services for vulnerable youth and families.

JCESC Director of Special Education Amber Fomenko said the latest grant is an extension and she will carry the program for the next two years.

“It’s about building family and community partnerships and working with the vulnerable youth population,” Fomenko added. “Right now, the liaison has been through trainings and they are surveying local districts for information. We have chosen a vulnerable area and that is our focus: young people involved in justice.

The program impacts children who face foster home absenteeism, those who have been impacted by the justice system in one form or another and implements the requirements of the Every Student Succeeds Act to also students who are homeless, refereeing, learning English, have parents in the military, have disabilities and are migrants.

“They had to form a coalition that works with the justice system that is part of the community to get supports to help these young people,” Fomenko continued, adding that the group includes juvenile court and probation officers. “They will be looking to try and get a mental health provider to be part of that, as the focus is on the whole child, which will include the socio-emotional element. The relays provide resources to the districts of the ESC consortium.

Agresta said the new liaison will work with other school districts and organizations such as Children’s Services and Friendship Hall.

“We are looking for the resources that schools would need to pass on to students and their families,” Agresta explained. “It could be truancy or juvenile delinquents in the juvenile detention center to help them get back to school smoothly. It’s about storing those resources in one place and schools can go to a place and ask what resources exist for a situation.

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