altMy son keeps on missing school. Can your truancy program help?

As Brooklyn District Attorney, I recognized early on the role that truancy can play as a gateway to future criminal behavior. As a result, in 1998 my Office created and continues to oversee TRACK (Truancy Reduction Alliance to Contact Kids), a comprehensive collaboration between the Kings County District Attorney’s Office, the New York City Police Department and the Board of Education.

Truant students and parents have the opportunity to speak with a Truancy Counselor - a trained social worker employed by my Office - to address any problems or issues which may be causing the student to be absent from school. The Truancy Counselor then makes an assessment and if needed, refers the family for appropriate services. These services can include after-school programs and youth development/mentoring programs, as well as substance abuse and mental health services. The hope is that by intervening in this way, we can prevent the student from developing a pattern of truancy, which has been demonstrated to lead to more serious problems in the future, often including criminal behaviors.

I am proud to report that, as a result of the TRACK program, we have located 107 missing children and 303 runaways, uncovered teen prostitution rings, disrupted gang activity, and helped thousands of children return to school.

Parents should instill in their children the importance of attending school on time and on a regular basis. If children are taught at a young age that attending school is a priority, they will be much more inclined to attend and stay in school when they are older.

Parents should remember that children who are academically deprived may face severe limitations in the future. Working together with our schools to ensure our children’s education is the key to raising happy, healthy adults who can enjoy the freedom to achieve whatever goals they set for themselves. Teach your children that school is a priority. Send them to school, and give them the tools they need to succeed.

If you would like more information about the Truancy program contact Nicole Barron at 718-250-2298.
To have your questions answered in a future column, please send them to asktheda@brooklynda.org.

 

Charles J. Hynes
hynes@turkishny.com