TCP BY THE NUMBERS
Established in 2005 the Sayra and Neil Meyerhoff Center for Families, Children and the Courts Truancy Court Program has…
- Operated in 51 schools in Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Montgomery County and Anne Arundel County.
- Served more than 2,600 students and their families in kindergarten through grade 12.
- Engaged more than 25 judges and magistrates from Maryland’s courts.
Chronic truancy is a crucial early indicator of a student’s risk of dropout and later interactions with the juvenile justice system. For most children and families, school is a structured and stabilizing routine. When unexcused absences become chronic, that is often a sign that children and families are struggling with problems such as bullying, an undiagnosed learning impairment, illness or substance use in the family, housing instability or neighborhood violence, among others.
Launched in 2005, CFCC’s Truancy Court Program (TCP) is a voluntary, non-punitive, holistic, data-driven intervention that works to identify and address the root causes of truancy for each child, seeks to improve behavior and student and family attitudes toward school and helps build a foundation for long-term academic success. The program has been honored as a Bright Idea by the Ash Center for Democratic Governance at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University.
CFCC offers a range of opportunities for students at the University of Baltimore and its School of Law to become involved with the Truancy Court Program as CFCC Student Fellows and as TCP volunteers.
CFCC offers organizations nationwide options for to replicate the Truancy Court Program in their schools and communities.
Four principles guide the operation of the TCP:
A Therapeutic, Holistic Approach
Our non-adversarial, trauma-informed model builds connections among the child, parents/caregivers, school administrators, teachers, a judge, a mentor and service providers. We enhance conflict-resolution skills through the use of restorative practices. The TCP team strengthens relationships through intensive, confidential meetings tailored to each child’s unique needs and circumstances that are designed to foster re-engagement with and re-connection to school. These connections provide students a safe space to discuss their lives and share their experiences with the TCP Team.
This voluntary program serves students who have 5 to 30 unexcused absences/tardies in the prior two marking periods. We work primarily with students from third grade through high school. By intervening early to address attendance issues, our team can rebuild and strengthen a student’s academic, social and emotional connections to school.
A Focus on Prevention, Family Involvement and Empowerment
The root causes of truancy often occur as a result of conditions that affect the entire family. Our multidisciplinary team, including a mentor, a social worker and an attorney, connects families with available social and legal services and supports. We also work to empower the family through education and guidance to promote the child’s school attendance and success. We provide "Know Your Rights" workshops for students to empower students to advocate for themselves inside and outside their schools.
Rewarding Students’ Progress
Continually rewarding improved attendance and academic performance keeps students motivated and builds self-esteem. TCP students receive weekly incentives for meeting short-term attendance, academic and behavioral goals, as well as graduation gifts upon successful completion of the program. Individuals and businesses donate many incentives, which the TCP Team aims to match to each student’s interests.
The Anthony “Bubba” Green Star Player Award
In 2019, the Truancy Court Program created the Anthony “Bubba” Green Star Player Award, in recognition of Bubba’s longtime commitment to Baltimore’s children and youth and his many years of dedicated service as the TCP Mentor. This award is given annually to the individual associated with the TCP who best exemplifies Bubba’s commitment to take on new challenges and persevere in the face of adversity. Recipients have included:
2020- Carla Simon, LCSW-C, School Social Worker, Furley Elementary School
2019 - Mark Friedenthal, Esq.
TCP News & Events
Read the April 2020 issue of Full Court Press, with articles on the TCP’s 15 years in service to schools, families and students.
Learn how the TCP team is serving families and students during the COVID-19 crisis.