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  September 2001

Truancy Reduction: Keeping Students in School

Myriam L. Baker, Jane Nady Sigmon, and M. Elaine Nugent


Overview of the Truancy Problem

The ACT Now Program

Truancy Reduction Demonstration Program





This Bulletin was prepared under grant number 1999–MU–MU–0014 from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, U.S. Department of Justice.
Points of view or opinions expressed in this document are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of OJJDP or the U.S. Department of Justice.
The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention is a component of the Office of Justice Programs, which also includes the Bureau of Justice Assistance, the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the National Institute of Justice, and the Office for Victims of Crime.

A Message From OJJDP

Each school day, hundreds of thousands of students are missing from their classrooms—many without a bona fide excuse.

Left unchecked, truancy is a risk factor for serious juvenile delinquency. Truancy’s impact also extends into the adult years where it has been linked to numerous negative outcomes. Consequently, it is critical to identify strategies that intervene effectively with youth who are chronically truant and that interrupt their progress to delinquency and other negative behaviors by addressing the underlying reasons behind their absence from school.

This Bulletin provides an overview of the problem of truancy; describes the correlations of family, school, economic, and student factors with truancy; notes truancy’s role as a predictor of delinquency, including juvenile daytime crime; and tallies truancy’s social and financial impacts.

Two OJJDP-funded projects are featured: the ACT Now program operated by the Pima County Attorney’s Office in Arizona and the Truancy Reduction Demonstration Program, a partnership with the Executive Office for Weed and Seed and the Safe and Drug-Free Schools Program.

Truancy is an early warning sign for future problems and should not be ignored. This Bulletin should assist our efforts to give it the attention it requires.



Myriam L. Baker, Ph.D., is a private consultant specializing in development and evaluation of programs for at-risk youth and a primary consultant to the Colorado Foundation for Families and Children in its evaluation of the Truancy Reduction Demonstration Program. Jane Nady Sigmon, Ph.D., is former Director of Research at American Prosecutors Research Institute (APRI), and M. Elaine Nugent is current Director of Research at APRI.

Photographs copyright © 2001 and copyright © 1997 PhotoDisc, Inc.

NCJ 188947

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