About Truancy

The majority of adult defendants in Gary City Court are high school drop-outs. Research indicates that habitual truancy is invariably reflected in future criminal behavior. Additionally, chronic truancy has been linked to a wide range of social problems including substance abuse, poverty, and poor physical and mental health. Recent study on truancy found that approximately 11% of 8th grade students and 16% of 10th grade students reported having been truant at least once in the previous four weeks (Henry, 2007).

The city of Gary, Indiana’s high rate of truancy and drop-outs is caused by trauma, bullying, poverty and poor academic performance.  Every state requires compulsory school attendance and is accompanied by regulations describing how state education and juvenile justice agencies should respond to truancy. While the school is often the first responder in student truancy, truancy termination and prevention ultimately involve action by the juvenile, criminal or family courts ranging from detention of the children and fine or jail for the parents.


Combating Truancy – 1 family at a time

Historically, students and parents have been the recipient of more punitive actions to quell truancy. Project Rebuild is taking a more proactive position to address truancy. The key to truancy prevention is immediate and effective intervention with the child and the child's family. Research has demonstrated that programs for at-risk youth are successful when they incorporate parent/guardian involvement and provide a continuum of services, including meaningful incentives, sanctions and supports, which are more effective at modifying behaviors than punitive consequences. As a result, parental involvement is required in Project Rebuild.  Project Rebuild is a comprehensive spectrum of both parental and student education,  incentives and sanctions based on the individual needs of each student/family. In addition, Project Rebuild provides professional development to all Gary schools to ensure the placement of  a universal, fair and systemic process is established to facilitate truancy prevention.

The goals of Project Rebuild are as follows:

  1. To reduce truancy among youth Kindergarden-12th grade;
  2. To enhance youth and parent accountability;
  3. To promote student and parent engagement in positive relationship development activities; and
  4. To assist community stakeholders in developing positive youth development programs.

For further information on Project Rebuild, contact its Program Administrator, Tara Nelson, at tara@prbfoundations.org    at (219) 239-2917 or 219-302-6441 (after hours) .