Director Barbara Babb reports that the Sayra and Neil Meyerhoff Center for Families, Children and the Courts (CFCC) has received a $50,000 grant from the O’Neill Foundation to support the Truancy Court Program in 2015-16. The funding will allow CFCC to continue the program in the Baltimore City public schools and to begin operating in one Anne Arundel County school.
The Truancy Court Program (TCP) works to address the root causes of truancy. The voluntary program involves 10 weekly in-school meetings per session (fall and spring) that include the student and his/her family members, as well as teachers, social workers, guidance counselors, principals, CFCC staff, a law student and a volunteer judge. In addition, students meet weekly with a TCP mentor, who also calls their homes each week to engage with family members.
The TCP meetings are designed to identify and address the specific reasons why each child is not attending school regularly and/or is late. The TCP team works to support the student’s regular school attendance, graduation from high school and, ultimately, service as a productive member of the community.
When possible, ancillary arts education programs, including photography and theater, are provided at participating schools to increase students’ engagement and attachment to school.