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Restorative Justice Response to Truancy

Award Information

Award #
Awardee County
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2003, $99,350)

The purpose of Restorative Justice Truancy Alternatives is to reduce the number of truants and intervene in the truancy issue at four school districts at all levels K-12. The four school districts are Rice Lake, Cameron, Barron, and Cumberland. Collecting Data at each of the sites and identifying the target population with be the first phase. Developing Community Group Conferencing methods with the targeted youth and their families will decide the methods for intervention. Intersecting with current mentoring projects, group conversations, education of the parents affected, and accessing Health and Human Services mental health services will be the methods for intervention.


The purpose of the Barron County Truancy Initiative Program is to decrease the number of youth entering the juvenile justice system as a result of habitual truancy and to overcome any barriers in the educational process. The Barron County Truancy Initiative is designed to serve students who have attendance concerns kindergarten through twelfth grade in the Barron, Cameron, Cumberland, Chetek, Turtle Lake and Rice Lake school districts. The Truancy Initiative Program is a voluntary, early intervention program intended to assist students and families in addressing truant behavior and preventing it from escalating into habitual truancy. The program is designed to be short-term and solution focused. The Truancy Initiative will embrace Restorative Justice Practices. Specific interventions used to overcome barriers to education include: weekly youth contacts, parent contacts, teacher contacts, administrative staffings, study groups, truancy facilitation, referrals to outside agencies, collaborative efforts with school staff, and connections to school support services. Progress will be measured by the reduction in referrals to Municipal Court, Barron County Department of Health and Human Services, and the District Attorney's office for truancy.

Goal one: To increase school attendance.
Objective of goal one: Educating students on attendance laws.
Performance measures: Initial contact meetings with referrals include an overview of truancy laws and school policy. After every initial contact, the social worker will fill out a follow-up form for school personnel.
Objective of goal one: Case management
Performance measures: Includes youth contacts, parent contacts, teacher contacts and referrals to outside agencies which are all tracked through individual case notes kept by the social worker.
Goal two: Enhance students' educational performance
Objective of goal two: Case management
Performance measures: Includes referrals to mentor programs, tutors, after-school programs, counseling and support groups, and academic monitoring. This is monitored through social worker case notes and referral statistics to each outside agency.
Goal three: Improve family and school relationships
Objective of goal three: Enhancing communication between families and school personnel.
Performance measurement: Referral follow up forms are given to school personnel after initial contact, 30 day mark, 90 day mark, end of each quarter and as needed. Social worker attends IEP meetings with family and coordinate Truancy Facilitations. These statistics are monitored through social worker case notes and referral statistics.
Goal four: Increase awareness of community resources
Objective of goal four: Providing schools and families with information about community resources and services. This includes staffing cases, delivering information, setting up appointments and providing transportation.
Performance measurement: Referral statistics to outside agencies are kept by each social worker. Also measured by the increase of program participants in community resources. Social workers developed a community presentation where the Truancy Initiative can be presented to various community groups.
Goal five: Bridge the communication gap between Barron, Cameron, Cumberland, Rice Lake, Chetek, and Turtle Lake school districts, Barron County Department of Health and Human Services, and Barron County Restorative Justice Programs, Inc.
Objective of goal five: Increase communication on individual cases and services.
Performance measurement: Semester meeting are held with all key participants in the Truancy Initiative.
Goal six: Increase community awareness of juvenile delinquency and other social welfare issues associated with 'at-risk' youth.
Performance measurement: Presentations given to school staff and students throughout the school year. Articles are written for area newspapers and school newsletters. NCA/NCF

The Restorative Justice Truancy Alternatives will implement a truancy initiative targeting K-12 children in six Wisconsin school districts (Rice Lake, Cameron, Barron, Cumberland, Chetek, and Turtle Lake). The primary goals are 1) to assess the needs of truant youth; and 2) improve the coordinated response from school, family, and other service providers. The primary activities will be community education, training for service providers, and community group conferencing for truant youth. Intersecting with current mentoring projects, group conversations, education of the parents affected, and accessing Health and Human Services mental health services will be the methods for intervention. NCA/NCF

Date Created: September 16, 2003