Kentucky Court of Justice
Breathitt County to be a pilot site for Truancy Diversion Program

Press Release Date:  Thursday, October 12, 2006  
Contact Information:  Leigh Anne Hiatt, APR
Public Information Officer
502-573-2350, x 4064
Cell-502-545-2839
lhiatt@kycourts.net
http://courts.ky.gov
 


Sebastian Middle School in Jackson has been designated as a pilot site for the new Truancy Diversion Pilot Program, which will eventually be available statewide. The Kentucky Court of Justice has announced the creation of the Truancy Diversion Program for students at risk of being charged with a truancy offense and referred to District Court or Family Court.

"We're confident that this important program for Kentucky’s youth is going to help a lot of young people in Breathitt County and across the state," said Tim Bobrowski, principal of Sebastian Middle School. "Our program here at Sebastian became operational on Aug. 28 with six students."

“The long-term effects of truancy can be very serious," said District Judge Kenneth R. Profitt, who serves Breathitt, Powell and Wolfe counties. “Our goal is to address absenteeism in its early stages so we can help students avoid many of the negative consequences that result from persistent absences.” Judge Profitt will help oversee the Truancy Diversion Pilot Program in Breathitt County.

Students who have missed the number of days allotted for a school period or who have too many unexcused absences are subject to being charged with a truancy offense, which could create a formal court record. Truancy is a status offense, which means it is an act that would not be criminal if committed by an adult.
The program uses a team approach to help students develop good attendance habits and improve their overall educational experience. The team is made up of judges, court designated workers, school counselors, principals, directors of pupil personnel and family resource staff. 

The Court Designated Worker Program, under the direction of the Department of Juvenile Services of the Administrative Office of the Courts, will facilitate the Truancy Diversion Pilot Program. Court designated workers will hold weekly meetings with the parents and the student to review attendance records, behavior and grades, and develop a plan for success. Local judges will periodically attend meetings to reinforce the work of the truancy diversion team and offer encouragement and recognition to participating students who are making progress.

The Kentucky General Assembly created the Court Designated Worker Program in 1986 through legislation which provided the services of a court designated worker for each of the 120 counties. Court designated workers process complaints against individuals under the age of 18, and provide redress for offenses without court action and without the creation of a formal court record. The CDW program is overseen by the Administrative Office of the Courts, which is the operational arm of the Kentucky Court of Justice and supports the activities of more than 3,400 court system employees, including the elected offices of justices, judges and circuit court clerks.