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Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention's Evaluation of the Truancy Reduction Demonstration Program: King County, Washington Successfully Reduces Unexcused Absences

NCJ Number
Date Published
October 2006
6 pages
The findings and methodology are presented for an outcome evaluation of the King County (Washington State) truancy-reduction effort, whose primary goal was to prevent truancy and minimize the burden of truancy courts by reducing unexcused absences that lead to truancy, which is defined under State law as seven unexcused absences in 1 month or 10 cumulative unexcused absences during the school year.
The evaluation found a significant decline in unexcused absences following the intervention. The average number of unexcused absences at pre-intervention was 12.66 compared to 8.44 post-intervention. This finding was based on data for the unexcused absences of 32 students in the 2004-2005 school year. The data reflected 3 months pre-intervention and 3 months post-intervention for the 2004-05 school year. The program provides an alternative to the formal court process for court-involved truant youth in King County. The program involves a pre-court attendance workshop led by a facilitator who provides information about the impact of dropping out of school and guidance and support for truant youth in developing behavioral contracts with truants' parents. The 2.5 hour workshops involve parents as well as youth. The curriculum includes a video of youth talking about the impact of their decisions to be truant; a prosecuting attorney explaining to families the provisions of the State's truancy law; and separate groups for parents and youth during which facilitators guide a discussion of problems related to truancy and possible solutions.

Date Published: October 1, 2006