Home Contra Costa County Contra Costa District Attorney Announces Truancy Courts for Parents

Contra Costa District Attorney Announces Truancy Courts for Parents

by ECT

This fall, the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office, in partnership with the Contra Costa Superior Court and local school districts, will launch its first Parent Truancy Calendar. The purpose of this calendar is to combat chronic absenteeism among elementary and middle school students.

High rates of truancy, such as those in California, have a devastating social, economic and public safety impact. Children who do not attend school regularly at an early age fail to develop fundamental reading and math skills. These students are more likely to struggle academically and often drop out entirely.

Preliminary data from a California study found that children who were chronically absent in kindergarten and 1st grade were far less likely to read proficiently at the end of 3rd grade. Without successful completion of a high school education, these children are more likely to be unemployed and at risk of becoming involved in crime, both as victims and as offenders.

Truancy has been identified as a likely precursor to serious nonviolent and violent offenses among youth. In Contra Costa County, police have reported that 60 percent of juvenile crime occurs between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. on weekdays, when children should have been in school.

School districts lose an estimated $1.4 billion per year by failing to get students to school because school funding is based on student attendance rates. The cost to the state is far greater.  Factoring in the costs of incarceration and lost economic productivity and tax revenues, dropouts cost California an estimated $46.4 billion per year.

The new court proceedings in Contra Costa will place great emphasis on the parents’ legal obligation to ensure that their young children attend school on a daily basis. After reviewing the information from the School Attendance Review Board in cases of elementary and middle school chronically absent students, (students who have been absent from school for 10% or more of the school days in one school year), the District Attorney will consider charging parents with an infraction. Parents will be placed on a 12 month grant of probation, during which they may be required to attend parenting classes, family counseling and/or other service programs.

This holistic approach will educate parents about the importance of school attendance for their children’s future and will address the barriers that have led to their children’s chronic absenteeism. The parents’ progress will be monitored, and if after 12 months their children are attending school, the charges will be dismissed. This collaboration between the schools and the court will allow families to benefit from resources available through both systems.

Questions concerning the program should be addressed to Deputy District Attorney Laura Delehunt at (925) 957-8713.


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Pamela Goodman Sep 24, 2015 - 12:30 pm

It is stupid unless the city provides an officer to enforce it. My child has walked off campus an defiantly told me she did not have to go. Where is my back up.

Barbara Sep 24, 2015 - 1:23 pm

Will there be help for parents who take the kids to school and the kids cut school or the kids that refuse to get up and go and are physical with the parents who are trying to get them up and go and basically tell them no they are not going and don’t ? What kind of assistance will they have because parents that do the right thing should not be punish for kids that won’t do what they are told and basically know parents can’t do anything about it.

James S Sep 24, 2015 - 3:49 pm

Pamela is right! You need somone to enforce it. School districts and cities need to cough up more funds to put addtional SRO’s at our schools. School districts should take equal blame, not just the parents.

Martin Fernandez Sep 24, 2015 - 4:27 pm

Thank you! It is really something we have needed for a long time. Parents need to be held responsible for their children’s activities. Sorry Mrs Goodman I don’t know your situation but I know of many other situations this has been needed.

Chris Jessup Sep 25, 2015 - 5:34 pm

Parents need to be in charge of your own children. Do you want them to be educated or fail in life? They need to be educated and have a positive example at home so they can be a
Responsible citizen in their community. The parents need to quit putting the pressure on the educators and take responsibility for your own children. Success starts with love and support in our own homes.

Welfare is mostly wrong Sep 27, 2015 - 12:25 pm

This idea is great. Unfortunately the justice system is no better than the welfare system and it will not work because as stated, parenting is where it all starts. I can’t see the DA taking children away from their parents to lock them up or visa versa. Moreover, it really is just another waste of tax dollars. Think about it. These kids are from broken homes, drug houses, and entitlement families. It is unfortunate. As long as the government sets the stage for this to occur by paying families to do nothing allowing the family structure to reap benefits such as free housing, food, credit cards, and transportation without something in return the results will be a continuous revolving circle for generations to come. Make entitlement families work for entitlements.Only then will you see a change towards respect for themselves and society.

amber Sep 29, 2015 - 9:44 am

My care goes out kids!! Who missing school!!

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