York County School Truancy Referral Policy
The purpose of this policy is to establish a consistent truancy referral process within all schools in York County. York County Office of Children, Youth and Families (YCOCYF) will review all truancy referrals which meet the criteria as outlined in the policy. There should be an understanding amongst school district personnel that the initial responsibility to address truancy rests with them.
Any child who fails to comply with the compulsory attendance requirements and is habitually truant may be referred by the school district to YCOCYF for services, which may include addressing family issues that may be responsible for the child's truant behavior, or possible adjudication as a dependent child under the Juvenile Act.
Before a referral is made by school personnel on a child due to truancy or unlawful absence, YCOCYF expects that the school will adhere to the following:
- Send written notices to parents requiring written medical excuses after the statutory number of days have been missed.
- Cite parents per the school code.
- Use behavioral interventions other than out-of-school suspensions to deal with behavior.
- Offer truancy prevention programs.
- Utilize all school-based resources including consideration of educational placement testing.
- Family Group Conferencing should be offered to the family.
- Upon early identification, at 6 unlawful absences, school districts shall coordinate a school/family conference to discuss the cause of the child's truancy and develop a mutually agreed upon Student Attendance Improvement Plan to resolve the truant behavior. If the child is open for assessment with YCOCYF, contact the assigned worker and notify them of the date and time of the meeting so that the worker can attempt to attend.
- If at the SAIP meeting, a parent directly requests YCOCYF to work with their family, the school will assist the parent with making a self-referral to the agency.
- If a pattern of unexcused absences continues after the completion of the SAIP meeting, with a total of 10 cumulative unlawful absences, the School District may refer the family to YCOCYF for assessment.
- The school must conduct and document at least 3 good-faith attempts to schedule and hold the SAIP meeting, prior to making a referral to YCOCYF for truancy-related concerns.
If school truancy continues after all of the above actions have been taken, the School District can submit a referral to YCOCYF by completing the "York County Children, Youth, and Families School Request for Services Form (PDF)". The "School Request for Service Form" should be filled out in its entirety, which must include the exact number of unlawful tardies and absences for the current school year. The following documents must accompany the referral:
- Full school attendance history for prior school years
- Full school attendance record for current school year
- Copy of the most recent IEP
- Copy of current report card
- Copy of disciplinary records for the current school year
- Documented actions the school has taken to correct the problem prior to the referral being made, including letters sent to the family requesting medical documentation, if that action was taken
- A copy of the Student Attendance Improvement Plan that was prepared by the School District, and signed by all parents / guardians / caretakers.
It is expected that if the school district decides that the parents' written permission is required before this information can be sent, it will be the school's responsibility to secure a release of information.
When the Agency receives this information, the case will be assessed by the Screening Unit to ensure that all items were received and the School Request Referral Form is adequately completed. If the required items are not provided, the agency may decline to assign the family for assessment until adequate documentation is received. Communication will occur with the school to indicate the items that are still required in order to assign for assessment. Once all required documentation is received, the family will be assigned to a caseworker for assessment.
School truancy referrals will be accepted for services on children up until the end of the school year. At that time, the cases will be accepted on a case by case situation to determine if it would be more productive to refer the family in the fall.