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After finding success with TIP, The Family Truancy Intervention Program was initiated by the Ramsey County Attorney's Office to address chronic absenteeism of elementary-age children living in Ramsey County.
RCAO FTIP Brochure
The basic tenets of FTIP are:
- Regular school attendance leads to higher academic achievement;
- Education is a basic need for all children;
- Education is the key to a successful future;
- School attendance is mandatory; and
- Parents of children who do not attend school as required by law will be petitioned to court for educational neglect if, despite FTIP's pre-court diversion efforts, attendance does not improve.
Elementary schools may refer any child living in Ramsey County to the program who has been absent three or more days during a school year without lawful excuse. Schools are encouraged to refer children who are chronically tardy or have excessive illness absences.
Like TIP, FTIP is a diversion program that consists of a three-step process involving progressively intrusive interventions to compel parents to address the attendance problem in a positive manner. Parents who have a child who has been absent three or more days may be referred to FTIP. The student's family is sent a letter informing them of the attendance problem and requiring them to attend a meeting where an Assistant County Attorney discusses the legal, social and individual ramifications of continued poor attendance.
If school attendance does not improve after the initial intervention, the parents are required to attend a School Attendance Review Team (SART) hearing. Students over the age of 10 may also be required to attend this hearing. At this hearing a school attendance contract is negotiated with the parents. If attendance fails to improve following the SART hearing, an educational neglect petition is filed in Ramsey County Juvenile Court and an expedited hearing is scheduled.
Since 1999, nearly 11,000 students have been served by FTIP, with a large percentage of students in the program consistently showing improved attendance.