Young children who experience chronic truancy are associated with a greater risk of school dropout, adolescent delinquency, and very high adult social and financial costs (Bell, Rosen, & Dynlacht, 1994; Caldas, 1993; Hawkins, Herrenkohl, Farrington, Brewer, Catalano, & Harachi, 1998; Huizinga & Jakob-Chien, 1998; Lamdin, 1996; Loeber & Farrington, 2000; Robins & Ratcliff, 1980). Current law requires schools to report to the child protection system any students who have seven or more unexcused absences. Using administrative data and a quasi-experimental design that used propensity score matching to create a comparison group, this study examines the outcomes of students who have missed at least 10% of the school year (at least 18 days) and their associated interactions with the child protection system. Furthermore, this study examines the effect of the child protection process on these students’ attendance.
The analysis found no significance for treatment effect of a child protection intervention on the attendance of the sample of chronically truant students. The study revealed that only 5% of the truant cohort had been involved with child protection over the two years of the study. Further, none of the child protection involvement was as a result of missing school. The study suggests a disconnect between the policy of child protection involvement in truant young children and the practice as revealed by the administrative data. Future research into child protection intervention with young truants would need to be carried out at a more local level due to the multiple factors making statewide data sources untrustworthy.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. June 2011. Major: Social work. Advisor:Elizabeth B. Lightfoot. 1 computer file (PDF); x, 128 pages.
Zuel, Timothy Brett.
A secondary data analysis of young truants and the interaction of child protection intervention.
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