OJJDP News @ a Glance Volume: 3 Issue: 1 Dated: January/February 2004 Pages: 1-20
This article presents the history and features of the Federal Truancy Reduction Demonstration Program (TRDP).
In 1998 the U.S. Justice Department's Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention and the Executive Office for Weed and Seed, along with the U.S. Department of Education's Safe and Drug-Free Schools Office, initiated the TRDP. The goal of the program is to encourage communities to develop comprehensive approaches to the identification and tracking of truant youth and reducing truancy. The importance of the program lies in truancy being an early warning sign of potential delinquent behavior, social isolation, and educational failure. The TRDP has been implemented in seven sites that vary in size, geographic location, ethnic and sociodemographic composition, and community-based leadership. To date, the program has served more than 2,000 youth and more than 1,100 families. A key concept of the TRDP is collaboration among community members in sharing a vision, maximizing existing resources, and the blending of services to address the range of issues related to truancy. Programs are overseen at the community level by a multiagency group. The seven sites participating in the TRDP are implementing a variety of programs that link truant youth with community-based services and programs. Examples of activities include community truancy boards, truancy workshops, and community awareness campaigns. Truancy case managers have been assigned to work directly with youth and their families by making home visits, monitoring school attendance, providing tutoring, and referring youth and families to community agencies as needed. All seven sites are participating in an evaluation of the program. Recommendations from the evaluation include having a consistent attendance policy and practice that is known to all parties; a continuum of prevention and intervention services along with incentives and graduated sanctions for students and parents; meaningful parental involvement; attention to student health; data-driven decisionmaking; student attendance review boards; quasi-judicial proceedings; business involvement; a focus on school transition years; and public awareness campaigns. A grant was recently awarded to the National Truancy Prevention Association to provide training and technical assistance to communities that implement truancy reduction programs.
Date Published: January 1, 2004