A community truancy board is a group of people from the community brought together by a joint agreement between a school district and the county juvenile court. Boards must include members who receive training on:
- how to identify barriers to school attendance,
- the use of a Washington state tool for assessing risks and needs of students, called the “WARNS”, or other similar assessment tools;
- culturally responsive interactions;
- trauma-informed approaches to discipline;
- evidence-based treatments for supporting at-risk youth and their families; and
- specific services and treatment available in the local school, court and community.
Community truancy boards meet with youth and families that are referred by their district. They listen and talk with them to try to figure out what is getting in the way of the student attending school; they make recommendations to the family and the school for steps to take to improve attendance. Community Truancy Boards can:
- Connect students and families with services including functional family therapy, or “wraparound” mental health, behavioral health or other family services);
- Recommend that the district transfer the student to another school, an alternative program, skill center, dropout prevention program, or other school option; or
- Recommend to the juvenile court that the youth be referred to a HOPE center or crisis residential center. (more information on those is available here: https://www.dshs.wa.gov/ca/adolescents/riskrunaway-youth).
Some districts have been working with community truancy boards for many years. In 2016, the law changed and now requires every district (except ones with fewer than 200 students) to develop a community truancy board by the 2017-2018 school year.