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Testimony: Joint Roundtable on Truancy Reduction in DC Public Schools 2012

Executive director Judith Sandalow testified before the DC Council at a joint roundtable on truancy reduction in DC public schools. She emphasized that while DC Public Schools has a large role to play, meaningful truancy reduction will require coordinated and sustained efforts of many other child- and family-serving organizations. Read a summary below or review Sandalow’s full testimony as submittted to the Council.

Children are truant for a variety of reasons, and understanding the complex and varied factors that lead to truancy is critically important to crafting appropriate invervention strategies. At the earliest stages of attendance problems, we should identify the root causes of the behavior and offer targeted, high-quality supports and services. Truancy is a symptom, not a disease. There must be better collaboration among parents, teachers, school social workers and non-school staff including mental health professionals, other social services providers and, when necessary, the child welfare and court systems.

While encouraged by Mayor Vincent Gray’s launch of a Truancy Taskforce, the group’s work has been progressing on a somewhat slow pace and it has been difficult to get a complete sense of its direction and long-term objectives.