The UB School of Law’s Truancy Court Program, a project of the Sayra and Neil Meyerhoff Center for Families, Children and the Courts, is the focus of a report released today by the Open Society Institute-Baltimore.
The report, “Truancy Court Project Does More Than Address Absenteeism,” follows a site visit by Karen E. Webber, the director of OSI’s Education and Youth Development Program.
The truancy prevention program, known as TCP, links students who are chronically absent or tardy with attentive adults. Students and their parents or guardians meet weekly with a volunteer District or Circuit Court judge and school representatives, as well as with TCP personnel – including UB student-attorneys — to discuss problems that prevent students from attending school regularly or on time.
Said Webber: “What struck me is how well the adults in the meeting knew the students and how comfortable the students seemed to be in a meeting with these caring adults.”
The program, which operates in four Baltimore City public schools and one Anne Arundel County school, also seeks to identify and address the primary causes of truancy and to link students and their families with support services.
In the 2014-15 school year, 75 percent of TCP participants graduated from the program, reducing unexcused absences by at least 65 percent compared to their attendance in the 10-week period before they began taking part in the program.
Participation is voluntary for students and their families.
The Truancy Court Program received a $25,000 grant from OSI in December. (See earlier blog post.)