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School-Based Family Counseling (SBFC) is an interdisciplinary, integrative, systems approach to helping children succeed academically and personally through mental health approaches that link family and school. SBFC is practiced by a wide variety of mental health professionals, including: psychologistssocial workersschool counselorspsychiatrists, and marriage and family therapists, as well as special education teachers. What they all share in common is the belief that children who are struggling in school can be best helped by interventions that link family and school. SBFC is typically practiced at the school site, but may be based in a community mental health agency that works in close collaboration with schools.


Family problems, such as marital discord, divorce, financial difficulties, child abuse and neglect, life-threatening illness, sibling in a gang, and poor parenting skills are associated with a wide variety of children's problems, e.g. delinquencydepressionsuicide attempts, and substance abuse. These family problems can have a negative effect on children's learning and school behavior. 


However, there is research showing that healthy families that cope effectively with their problems help children succeed at school. Traditionally trained school counselors and school psychologists may lack the family counseling training necessary to help students who are experiencing problems at home.If school personnel recommend that a parent seek counseling from a community agency for family problems, the parent and family may not go because of the stigma associated with therapy or because of restrictions imposed by managed care


SBFC reduces the stigma associated with therapy by emphasizing that counseling for family members has an educational goal: helping the student to succeed at school. Parentsguardians, and family members are approached as partners with the SBFC professional, all working together to promote school success.The SBFC professional is an advocate for the child, the family, and the school. Some of the problems SBFC approaches have been used to address are: bullying and cyber-bulling, depression, marital problems, school violence, grief and loss, trauma, life-threatening illness, school crises, learning disorders, immigrant families, suicide, and school suspension. 

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