Jewish Federation of Western Connecticut Awards WYS $7500 for Truancy Prevention and Counseling Program
Population Served: Waterbury youth attending public Elementary, Middle and High School students from all ethnic backgrounds, both male and female, serving the most vulnerable at-risk, low-income population.
Location of Population Served: Greater Waterbury Area.
Truancy is a critical issue in Waterbury’s public schools. Bridge to Success, a community collaborative operating within Waterbury, found that only 67% of Waterbury youth graduate from High School on time compared to 86% across the remainder of Connecticut. In addition, Waterbury has the fifth highest drop-out rate (about 30%) in the state.
WYS’s Truancy Prevention and Counseling Program meets an urgent community need by addressing the reasons for absenteeism and helping youth and their families address the barriers keeping them from regular school attendance, thereby increasing the chance of successful graduation from high school and a chance at becoming solid members of their communities.
The WYS program conducts an initial assessment with the family immediately after receipt of the referral. This takes place in either the family’s home or in the WYS office at a time that is convenient for the family and all pertinent forms/HIPPA are signed at this time. Barriers to school attendance are explored and the family is provided case management to address these barriers through specific steps. A step could be as simple as reminders to parents to set the alarm clock regularly, or to make sure the youth gets to bed by 10:00 p.m. each night, or as complex as identifying and working with issues such as peer pressure and bullying. Case management also includes monitoring the student’s attendance and school performance while maintaining contact with the family, school and other providers, connecting the family with needed services, communicating with school personnel and other involved collateral contacts, attending meetings at school when indicated, and monitoring attendance and the need for more case management. The referral source and school personnel are kept up to date on the youth’s progress in the program and referrals that have been made for the family.
Truanc referrals made by: Waterbury Schools
Program: September 1st through June 30th. May include summer activities. Services are provided Monday through Friday for home and office visits and also utilizes non-traditional hours.