Kentucky Court of Justice
Two Casey County schools designated as pilot sites for new Truancy Diversion Program
Casey County High School and Casey County Middle School have been designated as pilot sites 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.
“Addressing absenteeism in its early stages can help a student head off serious, long-term consequences in his or her adult life," said District Judge Roger Paul Elliott, who serves Adair and Casey counties. “The goal of this program is to break a pattern of persistent absences that begins in grade school and middle school.” Judge Elliott will help oversee the Truancy Diversion Pilot Program in Casey County.
"Truancy is a serious problem in schools across the nation and Casey County is experiencing its share," stated Tim Goodlett, principal of Casey County High School. "We started the program during the first semester of the school year with the combined efforts of the community: parents, school personnel, social services and the courts."
"We are very committed to making this new program work to help young people in Casey County," said Terry W. Price, principal of Casey County Middle School. "We're getting our Truancy Diversion team in place to begin the program the second semester of the school year."
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 3,500 court system employees, including the elected offices of justices, judges and circuit court clerks.