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Innovations in Truancy Prevention Practice: An Inventory of Selected Collaborations From Around the United States

NCJ Number
Date Published
107 pages
This study used an online database and information obtained from 12 in-depth interviews to identify typical practices of truancy-reduction programs throughout the Nation and determine what court-based program staff believe are promising tactics for reducing truancy.
The first phase of the project began with the development of an online database for the purpose of eliciting information on truancy programs across the country and to aid in the identification of court-involved truancy programs. As of March 20, 2005, 65 programs/projects were registered. Fifty-four percent (35) of the programs provide direct services to truants, and 62 of the 65 programs use a family-wide approach in serving their clients. The three most common obstacles the programs reported were poor parental involvement and communication, difficulties in collaborating with schools and their staffs, and funding and budget concerns. One-third of the programs receive funding through a combination of sources, and 22 percent receive Federal grants. Twelve interviews were conducted with judges and staff of selected promising court-involved programs. Seven of the 12 programs feature the holding of weekly truancy courts for students identified as truants but not engaged in delinquent behavior. These courts are held at the students' schools. All of the programs focus on dealing with the needs of the family as a whole, not just the problems of the student. In addition to providing services for both truants and their families, effective programs collaborate with the community and schools, use incentives to improve school attendance, use age-appropriate tactics, and identify and address truant behavior promptly. Some typical unmet needs of truancy programs are sound evaluations of the programs, networking within the field, and training in finding and keeping funding. 8 tables and appended Web site format and interview protocol

Date Published: January 1, 2005