LINCOLN COUNTY, WV (WOWK) – Parents in Lincoln County are worried their kids’ social service needs will not be met this coming school year.

Tuesday night, Lincoln County Schools board members voted 4-0, with one member abstaining, to eliminate nine out of 10 social worker positions in the school district.

According to Communications Director Chris Williams, a decrease in Title 1 and other grant funding is the reason this decision was made.

This change will take effect this Fall 2023. When this does happen, there will only be one social worker in the entire school system.

According to the West Virginia Department of Education, the role of social workers inside schools is to “provide services related to a person’s social, emotional, and life adjustment to school and/or society.” This can include intervention and counseling services.

According to a 2022 West Virginia Kids Count survey, 33% of children in Lincoln County live in poverty.

13 News has been talking with families who utilize these services. Many say they’re concerned for their children who rely on them day-to-day.

Williams says moving forward they will be using the “Communities in Schools Program” to help where there is no longer a social worker.

“We really appreciate and care about all of our students in Lincoln County Schools and our leadership is going to the best it can to mitigate what happened,” Williams says Wednesday afternoon.