Kentucky Court of Justice
More than 200 professionals attend workshops on preventing truancy in Kentucky schools
Local educators, judges and community partners are joining forces with the state court system to respond to the growing problem of truancy in Kentucky’s schools. The Department of Juvenile Services of the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) collaborated with the National Truancy Prevention Association (NTPA) to offer a professional development workshop on truancy prevention in two different locations. More than 130 professionals attended the workshop in Lexington Aug. 15-16 and more than 80 participated at Rough River State Resort Park Aug. 17-18.
In 2005, Chief Justice Joseph E. Lambert initiated a Truancy Diversion Program (TDP) in collaboration with Commissioner of Education Gene Wilhoit. The program was created to assist students at risk of being charged with a truancy offense because of too many unexcused absences. The TDP uses a team approach to help students develop good attendance habits and improve their overall school experience. The team is comprised of judges, court designated workers, school counselors, principals, directors of pupil personnel and family resource staff.
“A truancy offense can lead to a formal court record and other long-term social and financial problems,” said Chief Justice Lambert. “Because receiving an education often means the difference between hardship and struggle and the ability to lead a productive life, the Kentucky Court of Justice is committed to attacking truancy. I am greatly encouraged by the early success of this important program.”
Workshop presenters provided information on national truancy trends along with research specific to Kentucky. Presenters included Jefferson County Family Court Judge Joan L. Byer, who also serves as president of the National Truancy Prevention Association; Jeffrey Kuhn, executive director of the NTPA; and Dr. Ken Seely, president of the Colorado Foundation for Families and Children of the National Center for School Engagement.
The AOC 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.