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Update given on Ken-Ton’s Family Support Center

A single mother suffering from multiple sclerosis whose son was having behavioral problems in school was given consistent counseling while her son received treatment for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

A mother and two daughters living in poverty and victims of domestic violence are now safe and finding stable housing.

And a girl faced with social anxiety and panic attacks to the point of suicide threats is now more socially engaged and attends school every day.

Those success stories were highlighted Tuesday night during an annual report to the Kenmore-Town of Tonawanda School Board on the district’s Family Support Center, now in its 12th year.

The center has provided services to 686 families in Ken-Ton since July 1, including 867 students and 91 employees in the district, said Janet Cerra, coordinator of the center located on Myron Avenue, behind Kenmore Middle School.

Those numbers are on par with the previous four years, she said.

“We actually are seeing a stabilization,” Cerra told the board. “Prior to that we’d seen a rapid increase. Now, it is appearing to be stabilizing some.”

Families can be referred to the center for a variety of reasons, but more than half – 59 percent – were referred because of behavioral problems at school or home, Cerra said.

“Unfortunately, we have an increasing number of children that are referred because of social media misuse and we continue to see students who self-injure,” she said.

The center partners with mental health agencies, universities and local county services to help improve parenting skills, link families with social services and refer families for more intensive mental health services, she said.

Cerra also noted the center’s suspension-reduction program saved the district $17,860 in at-home instruction costs and reduced suspensions by 390 days. “For those students, we offer a reduction in their suspension time if they’re agreeable to receiving counseling services at the Family Support Center,” she said.

Also Tuesday, a presentation was given on the proposed 2015-16 budget, which totals $155.2 million and will be put before voters on May 19.

No comments were made during a public hearing on the budget, which is projected to add $50 to the school tax bill for the average home.

Voting will take place from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. at Hoover Middle School, 249 Thorncliff Road.

email: jpopiolkowski@buffnewscom