Fall is in the air, and we’re kicking off September with School Attendance Awareness Month. Did you know that missing 10% of school days for any reason can translate into having difficulty learning to read by third grade, achieving in middle school years, and graduating from high school? Just two absences per month are enough to dramatically impact academic success. Further, children experiencing poverty are three times more likely to be chronically absent from school, with students from communities of color and those with disabilities being disproportionately affected.
Fortunately, it’s a solvable problem and one that DCYF is dedicated to remedying. Here are some examples of DCYF’s efforts to promote school attendance for our youth:
- DCYF’s early learning programs, like ECEAP and Head Start, help young children build good attendance habits early and create a solid foundation for successful learning later in life.
- The Educational Advocacy Program provides direct advocacy, consultation, information, and referral services for youth in care. Coordinators offer services designed to help keep foster youth engaged in school and progress toward graduation.
- The Education and Training Voucher (ETV) program provides financial support to dependent youth ages 16-20 to attend college, university, or vocational and technical college. In the past academic year, DCYF provided nearly $600,000 in ETVs to help 171 students stay in school and achieve their educational and career goals.
- Juvenile Rehabilitation (JR) is structuring educational environments to encourage youth to show up and is using their feedback to strengthen and improve JR education systems through a series of focus groups and listening sessions hosted by JustLeadershipUSA (JLUSA). Through this partnership, we’re empowering youth by investing in them with transformative leadership training.
- JR is partnering with Educational Consultant Dr. Lisa Hoyt to develop a Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS) framework to improve outcomes and increase collaboration between DCYF and the school districts providing education in JR facilities. This intentional effort to build strong community, as well as early identification and intervention, helps to reach students in a preventative rather than reactive mode and increases the success of student outcomes.
DCYF’s vision is to see all of Washington’s children and youth thriving physically, emotionally, and educationally, nurtured by family and community; regular school attendance is an essential part of that. Learn more about School Attendance Awareness Month at attendanceworks.org.