The Truancy Court Program was first implemented during the 2001 school year. This problem-solving court was created to battle the oppressive and overarching amounts of youth whom were truant during that particular year. There have been many lines drawn which attribute truant behavior/ truancy with other forms of delinquency thus leading to incarceration or negative contact with law enforcement.
The purpose of Truancy Court is to improve school attendance and attitude of education in the youth by applying a nurturing manner that will ultimately build a relationship between the family, the school and juvenile Master or Judge. Rather than using punitive or harsh measures such as having parents prosecuted in criminal court, or stigmatizing the child and further souring their outlook on education and the criminal justice system. A social worker, counselor or case manager works with the families to determine the reasons for poor attendance and makes referrals for community-based services when appropriate.
In 2004, the General Assembly created the Truancy Reduction Pilot Program. The Truancy Reduction Pilot Program is codified at 3-8C-01 through 3-8C-10 of the Courts and Judicial Proceedings Article. The Truancy Reduction Pilot Program enjoyed the support of local Boards of Education and began in Wicomico County in January 2005.
The Truancy Reduction Pilot Program is a proactive approach designed to address the causes of truancy and improve the student’s attendance, achievement and attachment to school. It is important to remember that the Truancy Reduction Pilot Program is designed to be a proactive intervention rather than a punitive reaction.