New county program triples truancy referrals

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Kokomo Perspective on 12/3/2019 by Devin Zimmerman

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A new initiative in Howard County designed to stem student truancy is firing on all cylinders, with student referrals from local schools exploding over last year’s totals.

Earlier this year the makings of a new initiative began to take shape. Local judges noticed that student truancy referrals from schools were beginning to enter the court system in increasing numbers. Not only that but also the cases that came down the pipes were extreme, with students missing as many as 60 days of school, creating a situation where, by that point, service providers couldn’t help students salvage a school year.

But, now all of the area’s five school districts are on board with a plan to normalize truancy referral processes, ensuring intervention by the Howard County Department of Child Services (DCS) and Howard County Juvenile Probation Department at a point when students’ academic success still can be achieved.

“Ultimately, my goal is to make sure that children are protected. Part of that protection is making sure they’re educated and going to school. I think it’s really an important piece because kids, we all know, the more they’re educated, the better shot they have in the future,” said Stacy Morgan, director for Howard County DCS.