Founded on a bedrock of therapeutic jurisprudence, some truancy courts are aimed to solve problems and address truant behavior, but – like so much of our justice system – this underlying theoretical foundation crumbles without practical vigilance. These courts can facilitate a transformative space that transcends the school-to-prison pipeline and prevents a catastrophic intervention like foster care by empowering families with community-based resources. Without vigilance, truancy courts can curtail due process and serve as a punitive mechanism, punishing children and cash-strapped parents for systemic woes. Too often, courts shift the culpability of a fractured education system to low-income parents.
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Blogpost published by the University of Baltimore’s Center for Families, Children and the Courts (2015).