Montgomery's truancy intervention program celebrates good report - WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news.

Montgomery's truancy intervention program celebrates good report card

(Source: WSFA 12 News) (Source: WSFA 12 News)
WETUMPKA, AL (WSFA) -

The Helping Montgomery Families Initiative works with suspended and truant Montgomery Public School students and their families to keep at-risk children in class. Monday the program released the results of it's work over the last year.

District Attorney Daryl Bailey strongly believes that truancy and crime are directly related.

"The lack of education and high school diplomas in our youth is a public safety issue," Bailey said. "There is no doubt that if kids are not in school, they're usually involved in some type of criminal activity. These are the ones that are breaking into your houses, or breaking into your cars, or holding guns to your head."

That's why his office's partnership with Montgomery Public Schools is so important to him and Superintendent Margaret Allen.

"We want them to develop a love for learning, we want to cultivate an intellectual curiosity, we want them to dream of amazing possibilities, as we engage them, educate them and inspire them. But the truth of the matter is, we can't do it if they're not in school," Allen said.

The Helping Montgomery Families Initiative had a goal to reduce the number of overall unexcused absences and suspensions by 5 percent over the last school term. The program actually reduced both numbers by 15 percent.

"They had over 750 home visits last year, they served over a thousand parents," said HMFI Director Sandra Edwards. "We linked over 360 families to services this school term.

"I'm very proud to say that we did pretty good, but our work is not done yet," Bailey said.

In a study of more than 200 youth who successfully completed the program between 2008 and 2013 75 percent of them had no involvement with the justice system after their cases were closed.

Alabama law requires all children between the ages of 6 and 17 to attend school regularly.

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