About the ECC School Attendance Task Force
The first meeting of the SATF was on September 20, 2010. The group is chaired by Presiding Juvenile Court Judge Michael Nash.
Of the approximate 180,000 citations issued to youth each year, about 30% are for daytime curfew violations, better known as truancy. Until their closure in June 2012, the Informal Juvenile and Traffic Courts handled a high number of truancy cases, with the most common remedy being to levy fines against the parents of truant youths. For a number of reasons, this approach is almost universally debunked as ineffective.
As there is a high correlation between truancy, school dropouts and crime rates, preventing and reducing truancy is a very important issue. Judge Michael Nash initiated the School Attendance Task Force (originally the Truancy Task Force) in 2010 to see if one or more local strategies can be developed around successful initiatives so that the courts can contribute more positively to this issue.
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The SATF is looking at approaches to truancy that appear to be working—especially those that keep youth out of the court system—as well as those that are not. It is reviewing law enforcement practices, school-based approaches and community-based programs and is considering what county departments are doing to combat truancy as well as how they are dealing with homeless youth, an arena that may shed some light on dealing with truancy. The Task Force will also hear from collaborative groups focusing on truancy—both locally and from other areas—to learn what they are accomplishing and to see if and how the SATF can build on their work.