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The Story Behind the Numbers: A Qualitative Evaluation of the Seattle, WA Truancy Reduction Demonstration Program

NCJ Number
Date Published
January 2007
22 pages
This report discusses the qualitative data collected from the attendance workshops and case-management models that were part of the evaluation of the Seattle truancy reduction model.
The attendance workshops provide information to the truant students and their families about the truancy laws and potential consequences of persistent truant behavior. Lawyers and program staff provide the information. Workshop leaders help families develop contracts that cover the issues that might be contributing to student absences; both parents and students agree to a course of action to counter school absences. The case-management model is more intensive than the workshops, as individual students and families are assigned to a case manager in order to identify and address needs that may impact school attendance. Case managers typically work with families for whom petitions to the court have already been filed. Case managers make referrals to services that address student and family needs. Several recommendations for improving the program emerged from the evaluation. All interviews and focus groups involved in the evaluation identified the need for more school support in addressing truancy. Students and parents expressed frustration with school personnel. Facilitators and case managers also identified the need for schools to be more involved with efforts to address truancy. In addition, there was concern that workshops may not allow sufficient time to achieve all their goals. Case managers also identified additional resources they need to more effectively meet the needs of their clients. Nevertheless, feedback indicates that the program has been successful in reducing truancy among the students it has served.

Date Published: January 1, 2007