Hundreds and thousands of children fail to attend school without valid excuses or reasons. This has influenced an increase in truancy across major regions in the United States. For example, one fifth of students enrolled in schools failed to attend without a valid excuse in 2002 in New York. As a result, levels of delinquency have increased in the country. Children attend school to learn values, skills, and principles to lead a comfortable life. Thus, they ought to be committed in improving their school attendance rates. Accepting and believing education provides and improves real opportunities to record and produce better life outcomes can reduce truancy. Consequently, levels of public safety can improve. This is because more than seventy five percent of serious crimes are committed by juvenile offenders. School drop outs and absentee students are therefore more likely to engage in delinquent and criminal behaviors than attendees. States are therefore comprehensively formulating strategic programs aimed at providing early intervention measures to reduce and prevent truancy. These programs include the social worker juvenile court intervention program against truancy (Sara & Heidi, 2002).
Social Worker Juvenile Court Intervention Program
Children grow up from different and diverse backgrounds. Some are brought up amidst violence, poverty, and illnesses, while others are commonly known as suburbia children. Children can be brought up among family members, friends, and community members suffering from various social vices. These include alcoholism, unemployment, lack of education opportunities, suffering from HIV/AIDS, and incarceration. However, they can manage to be resilient and succeed in acquiring education to improve their social status, families, and communities. Others are, however, unable to rise above the negative environmental conditions. They face diverse circumstances, threatening their well being, discouraging and hindering them from utilizing every opportunity to reach full potential. These opportunities arise from the acquisition of education (Gina, & Hathaway, 2012).
Through education, children from diverse backgrounds are taught and encouraged to develop positive behaviors. This is crucial in fighting and reducing levels of crime. Educators and policy makers assert that the criminal justice system has formulated crime prevention strategies for more than three decades. The strategies have helped some community members to succeed through reduced rates of truancy. However, some continue to suffer from increasing incidences of juvenile violence. Through the social worker juvenile court intervention program, educators, policy makers, and criminal justice professionals mentor, educate, and train children. Consequently, the number of young students attending school increase, enhancing public and community security levels among the States and nationally (Osher, Bear, Sprague & Doyle, 2010).
Social workers are appointed to formulate conflict resolution training programs to prevent truancy. The social workers are tasked in engaging youths and their families in activities preventing delinquency, violence, and crime on juvenile levels. Social workers mainly focus on factors risking school attending students to be truant. Consequently, they formulate strategic measures that family and community members, as well as friends, can relate with as they strive to reduce truancy, leading to delinquent behaviors and juvenile crimes. By identifying strong characteristics nurturing the youth, social workers are able to reduce and prevent truancy (Glenda, 2014).
Factors Encouraging Truancy
At least twenty five percent of adolescents in the United States are at the risk of truancy. They also risk veering off a path aimed at ensuring that they engage in positive activities attributed to personal, mental, physical, psychological, and professional growth. The first factor contributing to truancy in United States is associated with alcohol. Children brought up by absentee parents affected by alcoholism record higher rates of truancy and delinquent behaviors. The parents suffer from alcoholism, neglecting their children’s needs. As a result, children fail to attend school, increasing the truancy rates. Consequently, the number of children attempted to engage in delinquent criminal behaviors to fill the void for failure of attending school increases. Educators believe that adolescents need to spend more than sixty percent of their time with adults in order to develop positive values and principles to guide them in life. However, children brought up by alcoholic parents are likely to spend less than forty percent of their time with an adult. As a result, they engage in violent criminal activities as constructive activities rather than attending school (Seeley & MacGillivary, 2006).
In the United States, the quality of education provided among public schools has been declining over the years. Teachers and students are neither motivated nor encouraged to play their role in improving the situation. A student attending a public school institution can be absent without either a reason or an excuse. More so, they can fail to attend school without facing consequences from either the teacher or the parent. This has encouraged public school students to be absent without an excuse as the education system lacks mechanisms to reduce and prevent truancy. Thus, educators within the public education system lack care, concern, and the will to supervise students in order to reduce and prevent truancy and delinquency among youths in the country (Osher, Bear, Sprague & Doyle, 2010).
Cognitive and psychological deficits are also factors increasing truancy in the country. These deficits prevent children from achieving either social or academic successes. Disorganizations and disruptions can therefore lead to truancy especially among children from chaotic neighborhoods. This can also be witnessed among children from backgrounds without sufficient resources to ensure they attend school regularly. Such children fail to engage in pro-social peer activities school attending pupils are likely to engage in to develop positive values. As a result, they engage in illegal, violent, criminal and delinquent activities with their peers belonging in gangs, selling drugs and accessing guns. They make unhealthy and unlawful decisions as they lack education ad life skills to make valuable choices (Glenda, 2014).
How to Prevent Truancy
Preventing child abuse can play a crucial role in reducing truancy. Children facing physical, mental, and psychological abuse cannot cope in school. Their emotions and mental capacities are disorganized and disrupted. As a result, they are likely to engage in either delinquent activities coupled with rebelliousness and violence as coping mechanisms or social withdrawal. None of these results can encourage a child to attend school as they prefer either staying at home where they feel safe or in the streets engaging in rebellious activities (Seeley & MacGillivary, 2006).
Child abuse is often accompanied with neglect. Neglecting a child can lead to mental, emotional, and psychological deficits. This increases risk factors motivating and encouraging a child to fail attending school in order to engage in delinquent activities. These deficits also encourage rebellious children to drop out of school. With regards to female children, they are likely to become teenage parents due to parental neglect. Neglect can be prevented by parents ensuring they develop and maintain close relationships with their children. Parents, guardians, and family members should be the first role models a child can relate with. They ought to encourage, motivate, and mentor the child based on healthy, safe, positive, and realistic values, beliefs, and influences (Sum, Khatiwada & McLaughlin, 2009).
The social worker juvenile court intervention program against truancy also aims at focusing on positive and protective factors embracing and encouraging children from diverse backgrounds. Educators, social workers, and practitioners tasked in developing effective programs to help and encourage youths attend school are vital. They utilize community based intervention demonstration programs to raise awareness on the negative effects of truancy. Consequently, they develop tested and evaluated interventions. These interventions are applied diversely among different communities facing diverse risk factors attributing to and increasing truancy rates. Social workers utilize personal attributes such as social skills, the conventional belief system, intelligence, and steady disposition to discourage truancy and delinquency. They also encourage parents to be more loving and involved in their children’s lives. This is aimed at encouraging parents to monitor, examine, and supervise the child’s behavior closely. As a result, they can correct delinquency at an early stage (Taveras, Douwes & Johnson, 2010).
The program also encourages teachers to be more concerned for their student’s well being. They should care how their student’s are performing on social and academic levels to ensure children achieve successful development. Children able to record positive growth and development on social and academic levels are committed towards the education system. As a result, they can reduce truancy levels and chances of being delinquent or juvenile criminals (Gina, & Hathaway, 2012).
Social controls among communities are also vital factors to consider in order for the social worker juvenile court intervention program against truancy to succeed. Opportunities available among communities ought to be regulated. This involves organizing various activities children in a community can engage in to meet common goals. However, the community leaders should be committed and cooperative in channeling positive influences among the attending youths. Churches among other religious institutions, youth social clubs, and parent teacher associations are therefore crucial community based activities that can reduce and prevent truancy. They are socially acceptable platforms encouraging youths to attend. Consequently, positive influences from adults and peers can play a vital role in instilling values, beliefs, and principles adolescents can utilize to reduce and prevent truancy and delinquency. Thus, social worker juvenile court intervention program against truancy relies on youth participation, acceptance by peer groups, adult involvement, and supervision (Glenda, 2014).
Truancy can be prevented among children from various races, backgrounds, religious sects, and other diverging factors in a community. Parents, guardians, community members, and friends ought to ensure school attending children report to an education institution without failure unless they have a valid reason such as illness. Parents should ensure they enroll their children in safe public schools keen in teaching and instilling life principles and values among the students. Consequently, they should be engaged in their children’s education performance. This includes examining their home work, school attendance and performance reports, and collaborating with the teachers or educators for the child to record improvements. More importantly, they ought to communicate with children on various issues they may be facing affecting their school work. This can include social pressures, illnesses, and psychological disruptions hindering them from being attentive in school. They should seek professional help from a health care facility or social workers skilled in teaching children coping mechanisms to deal with pressures they face as they seek education. Thus, truancy can be reduced and prevented by ensuring the children are healthy, safe, protected, and well guarded both at home and school.
Gina, C., & Hathaway, B. (2012). Promoting Positive Outcomes. Truancy Reduction: Research, Policy and Practice, Seattle, Center for Children & Youth Justice.
Glenda, R. (2014). Preventing Chronic Absenteeism and Truancy, Indiana Department of Education (IDE).
Osher, D., Bear, G., Sprague, R., & Doyle, W. (2010). How Can we Improve School Discipline? Educational Researcher, 39(1): 48-58.
Sara, M., & Heidi, S. (2002). Approaches to Truancy Prevention, Youth Justice Program, Vera Institute of Justice.
Seeley, K., & MacGillivary, H. (2006). School Policies that Engage Students and Families, Denver, CO, National Center for School Engagement.
Sum, A., Khatiwada, I., & McLaughlin, J. (2009). The Consequences of Dropping out of High School, Center for Labor Market Studies Publications.
Taveras, B., Douwes, C., & Johnson, K. (2010). New Visions for Public Schools: Using Data to Engage Families, Cambridge, MA, Harvard Family Research Project.