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Building Families Program Partners with Laurens District 56 for School-Based Counseling Services

Building Families, an in-home and community-based family counseling program operated by Thornwell, is proud to partner with Laurens District 56 to offer school-based counseling services that address the ongoing, important mental health needs of students and their families. Services will be available beginning the 2023-2024 school year with the goal of helping students navigate challenges, decrease stress and anxiety, and improve coping skills.

“Data shows children and teens are experiencing anxiety, depression, and other serious mental health concerns at alarming rates. Their experience is often made worse with the pressures of our increasingly “online” culture,” explained Morgan Ednie, Thornwell’s Vice President for Strategic Impact. “Students need a trusted person they are comfortable talking to, who can meet them right where they are. Likewise, their support systems – parents and schools – need resources and a caring expert to come alongside them to make sure any child who is struggling receives the best possible care.”

Through the partnership, Masters-level therapists employed by Thornwell’s Building Families program will be present full-time in district schools across all grade levels. Students will receive therapy services on school property, with telehealth available for their caregivers to join family sessions or receive individualized parenting support. With consent from the student’s parent or guardian, the therapists will assess and develop individual treatment plans for each child’s unique needs. Therapists will also meet monthly with school staff and other members of the student’s family and support team to review needs and progress. Home-based therapy services will be available to students and their families during holidays and summer breaks to ensure they can access year-round support.

“District 56 is committed to the physical and mental well-being of our students and their families. Our hope is this ongoing partnership will break down barriers by reducing the stigma that can come from seeking mental health services or the challenges that can sometimes come from trying to access them,” said Dr. David O’Shields, Superintendent for Laurens District 56. “Our hope is that this partnership will enhance the lives of our students and equip them with tools to be successful, productive citizens.”

School-based counseling services will be available by September at Clinton Middle School and Clinton High School. Additional school-based therapists will be brought in to serve other schools in the district with the hope of reaching as many students as possible. Requests for support may be made by parents and guardians, as well as guidance counselors, Principals, teachers, and district therapists. To learn more about Thornwell’s Building Families program, click HERE. To apply for an available School-Based Therapist position, visit

About Thornwell

Since 1875, Thornwell has been a leading expert in child and family well-being in South Carolina, Florida, and Georgia. As its 147-year history demonstrates, Thornwell has worked to better the lives of countless children and families. Thornwell addresses the well-being of children not as a singular event but as a comprehensive, ongoing cycle of services and support designed to help children and families, no matter what stage of life they’re in. Thornwell is a Platinum award recipient for financial transparency by Candid and a 4-star charity by Charity Navigator. Thornwell believes in maintaining the highest levels of financial transparency and accountability.  In 2022, 76% of every dollar went to programs directly serving children and families. Thornwell was named one of the Best Places to Work in South Carolina in 2023 by SC Biz News and Best Companies Group. Learn more about Thornwell and its services for children and families at

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