Truancy Intervention Services
If a parent is having difficulty getting a child to school, he/she should discuss the problem with the school immediately and seek assistance. Being proactive may help prevent legal proceedings.
WHAT IS TRUANCY?
In Pennsylvania, a child can be considered truant when he or she has been absent 3 or more days during the course of a school year without a valid, or lawful excuse.
The school district must provide the parent with written notice of the attendance violation 3 days before filing a citation and bringing court proceedings against a parent. If a parent receives a truancy notice, he/she should contact the school upon receipt to discuss the child’s attendance problem.
If there is another unexcused absence after receiving the initial notice, the school district could refer the family to the local Magisterial District Judge and have a hearing to address the issue. Continual truancy violations may result in the school district or Magisterial Judge referring the child/family to the Montgomery County Office of Children and Youth.
- Contact ChildLine at www.compass.state.pa.us/cwis or call ChildLine 1-800-932-0313 or
- Call Montgomery County Office of Children & Youth (610) 278-5800
When a Family is Referred to the OFFICE of CHILDREN & YOUTH
The school district will contact the Office of Children and Youth’s Truancy Unit with referral information related to the student being reported as truant. Upon discussion with school personnel, the Truancy Unit will determine if the referral is appropriate to be set up for a formal family assessment. The criteria includes the following:
- Child resides in Montgomery County and is under the age of 18.
- Child has been truant for at least 10-15 days at time of the referral.
- School district has sent required letters to the parent/caregiver; developed and implemented a plan to address the truancy; has taken the child and parent/caregiver in front of the Magisterial District Judge and truancy issue has continued or the Magisterial District Judge has directed the school district to make a referral to the Office of Children & Youth at the last court appearance.
If the criteria is met, truancy diversion services may be initiated or a formal family assessment completed. During the 60-day assessment, an OCY caseworker will meet the family, school and talk with other pertinent people involved with the case (i.e. family members, therapist, police, etc.). Within 60 days, the caseworker will make a determination as to whether or not the family will benefit from ongoing services. When necessary, a dependency petition may be filed in the Juvenile Court, but only after services have been provided and all efforts to resolve the issue(s) identified during the agency’s involvement have been exhausted.