Lead School Social Worker & System Homeless Liaison
Jennifer Benford is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and TBRI Practitioner with 27 years of Social Work experience. She is a “Double-Dawg,” after earning her MSW and PhD degrees in Social Work at UGA.
Throughout her six years of employment with BCSS, her areas of focus include increasing awareness of the impact of trauma on learning and behavior, building a trauma sensitive community, increasing student access to behavioral health services, and reducing the incidence of youth suicide.
"I love the opportunity to think outside of the box, and collaborate with my clients, families, schools, and community to identify potential solutions to remove barriers for our kiddos."
Jennifer is also a part-time instructor at the School of Social Work at UGA and serves on the Board of Directors for the Peace Place. Her favorite thing about working at Barrow County School System is the opportunity to collaborate with each school and community resources to help identify solutions for children and families.
Preferred Pronouns: She, Her, Hers
Dr. Benford serves Austin Road Elementary, the Arts and Innovation Magnet Program, Barrow Arts and Sciences Academy and Sims Academy. She also leads Barrow County’s School Based Mental Health program, which works with local agencies to provide mental health counseling and support to uninsured or underinsured students who need such services.
From her Colleagues
"Jennifer has a heart bigger than ever. She is always willing to step in and assist with a sense of urgency. She is a strong communicator and keeps us all in the loop. She is available during all hours of the day and night to assist with our school's needs - whether it be to debrief, share advice on a situation, or make a home visit/meet a parent in our parking lot after basketball practice. No matter what it takes...she makes it happen! And she does it all with such a calm and soothing demeanor. We appreciate her so very much! She is KID focused and for that we are thankful!"
"I appreciate how much Dr. Benford loves the kids AND our staff. Through two tragedies, she has been the rock that helped me to stay strong. There were moments when I didn't think I could continue, but her supportive, reassuring stance (including a positive head nod subtly telling me that I could keep going) made all the difference. Thank you!"
"Jennifer is always available when we need her the most. Whether it's a consultation, phone call to a parent or home visit, she finds a way to get it done. With all of her duties and responsibilities, she still makes time to check on me, listen and empathize. For this, I am grateful."
"Jennifer Benford is an important and vital ally to our school and students. In a year that has been unlike any other, it is comforting to know we are not alone in this fight and that we can rely on her for help to support our students. Jennifer has a huge heart and that is evident in her approach as a school social worker. We are thankful for her care in all things and her dedication to the BCSS community, staff, and students." – Counselor
“I swear Dr. Benford has a magic wand! No matter what the need is, all I have to do is ask her and it is taken care of.” – Counselor
"Thanks for always being a click away. Be it email or text, you always respond with appropriate guidance, a plan of action or an offer to help." – Counselor
"We feel as though Jennifer Benford is always a very calming voice of reason whenever we are feeling overwhelmed. She always makes us feel like we are doing the right thing when helping students and families, even when it doesn’t seem that way to us." – Counselor
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