Initiative Description: Evaluation of a truancy diversion program that involved psychological, educational, and social/criminal justice organizations in nine at-risk middle schools in an ethnically diverse sample. Youth in the TDP committed to attending a “mock truancy court,” where they met weekly before a “judge” until 8 weeks of consecutive perfect attendance was achieved. The judges were volunteer attorneys or family court judges. Parents were urged, but not required, to accompany their children to these meetings, which occurred in the morning before school. Each school was assigned a CASA advocate, who tracked each participant’s attendance weekly. Participants and their parents (if in attendance) met weekly with a multidisciplinary panel that included the judge, CASA advocate, school administrative member (e.g., dean, principal, social worker) and community social worker) Interventions (tutoring, Life of Crime, therapy) were based on an analysis of needs during weekly TDP meetings that involved input from members of the multidisciplinary panel. Tutoring occurred during lunch, a designated study period, or after school.
Study Results: The program was successful in reducing internalizing and externalizing behavior problems.
Reference: Haight et al. (2014). EVALUATION OF A TRUANCY DIVERSION PROGRAM AT NINE AT‐RISK MIDDLE SCHOOLS. Psychology in the Schools, 51(7), 779-787
Level of Evidence: Good