Truancy Response Project Launched in Orange County

For Immediate Release
August 28th, 2001

Contact: DDA Nikki Erlandson (714) 935-6176

Truancy Response Project Launched in Orange County

ORANGE — District Attorney Tony Rackauckas, in cooperation with the Orange County Probation Department and the Orange County Department of Education, will hold an all-day training session to introduce the Truancy Response Project, a program designed to target habitually truant students and their parents.

Approximately 100 representatives from school districts across the county will attend the session which is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Thursday at the Doubletree Hotel, 100 The City Drive, Orange.

Training sessions include “the Paper Trail,” “the Parent Meeting,” “the Presentation of SARB (Student Attendance Review Board)”, and “the Prosecution.” Prosecutors, Probation Officers, and representatives from the Orange County Department of Education will conduct the training and show administrators what needs to be done before a criminal case can be filed. Other speakers include Judge Robert Hutson, who presides over Juvenile Court and Stephanie Lewis, Chief of the Orange County Probation Department.

The District Attorney’s Office recently received two grants to fund the project. Three specially assigned Deputy District Attorneys will be involved with processes designed to encourage children to stay in school. However, if the children continue to miss class, the prosecutor will send a letter to the parents and schedule a meeting with them. Children who continue to be truant will be subject to juvenile court sanctions, as will their parents in some cases.

Every year, hundreds of children are habitual truants. In the past, county agencies lacked the resources to prosecute these cases.

According to District Attorney Tony Rackauckas, “A child’s future directly depends on education.  Truancy is a factor cited by experts as leading to youthful crime. This program is an exciting opportunity to reduce crime while brightening the future prospects of our youth.”