Truancy has long-term economic consequences for families and communities. State aid is often distributed to school districts based on their average daily attendance. In Detroit, truancy affects the school district’s bottom line.
• According to the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, (OJJDP), it costs upwards of $200,000 per high school dropout, over a lifetime, in excess criminal justice, social service and health care costs.
• According to the Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC), it costs approximately $30,000 per year to incarcerate a juvenile, while it costs about $8,000 per year to educate a child in most school districts.
The National Dropout Prevention Center recommends the following strategies to prevent truancy and eventual dropout:
• Attendance policies that promote attendance, rather than punish absence, especially through expulsion.
• Early intervention programs identify students that have started skipping school before it reaches the level of habitual truancy. Can apply to elementary, middle and high schools.
• Alternatives to adjudication for truancy: peer mediation, truancy prevention mediation.
• Court based truancy reduction programs that provide services to families and youth as prevention but acknowledging that if truancy continues, adjudication is a possibility.