Amedee gets funds for truancy center

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 6, 2005

GONZALES — District 18 State Senator Jody Amedee’s (D-Gonzales) work in the recently completed legislative session includes $75,000 from the state’s operating budget for a Truancy Assessment and Service Center serving the 23rd Judicial District Court parishes of Ascension, Assumption and St. James.

The Truancy Center, which is administered by the LSU School of Social Work, works with families to address truancy in kindergarten through 5th grade, focusing on the reduction and elimination of delinquency, school dropout and substance abuse.

Senator Amedee was able to obtain the funding with help from Governor Kathleen Blanco.

“Every national statistic indicates that truants end up as delinquents, and juvenile delinquents often end up in and out of jail for the rest of their lives,” Senator Amedee said. “That’s why I’m pleased to help bring home the funding for this program, which is one of the most important services we can provide.”

The program operates by first identifying children who are at risk for truancy and then working together with the school systems, law enforcement, district attorneys and service provider agencies to develop a process for maintaining consistent school attendance.

The system is designed to hold families accountable for getting their children to school.

The Truancy Assessment and Service Center has a highly successful history, serving 24 parishes in its seventh year, and boasting a 68 percent success rate.

Senator Amedee met with 23rd Judicial District Court Judge Tom Kliebert for several years to discuss the need for a Truancy Assessment Center in the area.

Senator Amedee said the $75,000 will cover the startup costs associated with implementing the program. He hopes to increase the funding to the Truancy Assessment and Service Center in the following fiscal year.