We will generally attempt mediation for elementary school children, we will begin with diversion for children in junior high and we send children in high school directly to the County Attorney.
If the child has received a service, that service will not be available a second time. Failure to comply with any programs will lead to a referral to the County Attorney for formal charges of Truancy.
Mediation: is a cost effective program designed for children and families who are experiencing Truancy issues. The purpose of mediation is to promote school attendance in a group setting with truant children and their parents or guardians. The program educates the family on state attendance requirements and the possible consequences if the law is not complied with, to include prosecution of the parent or the child being placed on a form of probation. The program is generally offered to elementary grade children, is free for the family and is education-based to prevent future truancy issues.
Diversion: is an informal early intervention process, generally for first and second time offenders whose offenses are not serious in nature, e.g., Criminal Damage, Shoplifting, Truancy, etc. Diversion requires that the child and his or her parent or guardian meet with a probation officer in lieu of a formal appearance in court and that the child take responsibility for his or her actions. The family signs a contract, agreeing that the child will complete a list of requirements within 90 days, at which time the case will be closed without the filing of formal charges. The Diversion fee is $50.00, and the child or parent may be asked to pay other fees and assessments, to include any restitution owed to victims.
A signature course for the Diversion program is the Delinquency Prevention Program (DPP), which is a 6 hour course of study for both the child and parent or guardian. We continually receive exceptional positive feedback from the families who have completed the course.
Submitting the Referral to the County Attorney: When less restrictive measures have been exhausted or the age of the child prevents the option of utilizing a less restrictive option, a complaint referral will be submitted to the County Attorney, requesting a Formal Petition to the Court. If the County Attorney files a petition for Truancy, the child and parent/guardian will be summoned to appear in Court. If found responsible the child can be placed onto a protective supervision caseload for up to one year, be assigned a Probation Officer, and his or her family would be required to pay a $60.00 monthly Supervision fee to help defray the cost to the County.