Reducing Truancy and Fostering a Willingness to Attend School: Results from a Randomized Trial of a Police-School Partnership Program
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Truancy is a major social issue that is linked to a range of poor outcomes across the life course, including poor educational outcomes, drug and alcohol abuse, and antisocial behavior. Interventions that seek to reduce truancy problems range from school-based police officers to programs that reward good attendance to community-based interventions. This study reports primary outcome results of a randomized trial of a collaborative, police–school partnership that sought to reduce truancy and increase students’ willingness to attend school. Using school attendance and students’ self-report survey data, we find that the police–school partnership intervention shows promise for reducing truancy and improving students’ willingness to attend school. We conclude that police–school partnerships that foster the willingness of young people to attend school should be examined in future evaluation research and be considered in the development of truancy prevention programs.
KeywordsTruancy School attendance Delinquency Schools Police partnerships
The authors gratefully acknowledge the Australian Research Council Laureate Fellowship (2010–2015; grant number FL100100014) that funded the experimental evaluation of the Ability School Engagement Program (ASEP). We also acknowledge the ongoing support from the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Children and Families over the Life Course. As with any large-scale trial, the work that is presented in this paper is made possible by the dedication, passion, and professionalism of a large number of very special people. We are, therefore, indebted to the project team at the University of Queensland, our Ph.D. students, as well as the dedicated operational team from the Queensland Police Service, the Department of Education, and the facilitating team drawn from the Department of Justice and Attorney General (previously Department of Communities). The views expressed in this paper are those of the authors. Responsibility for any errors of omission or commission remains with the authors.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Australian Research Council Laureate Fellowship (2010–2015; grant number FL100100014) funded the experimental evaluation of ASEP.
Conflict of Interest
The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. Ethics approval was granted by the University of Queensland Behavioral and Social Sciences Ethical Review Committee (Project Number: 2010000500).
Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
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