Fighting Truancy by Removing Public Benefits
- School-to-Prison Pipeline
- Child Welfare Crossover
- Mental Health
- Juvenile Defense
- Juvenile Competency
- In-Home Care Incentive
- PREA, Isolation, Restraint
- Youth in Adult System
- Juvenile Life Without Parole
- Youth Reentry
The Michigan Legislature is one vote away from passing, HB 4041,a law that would prohibit families from receiving public aid if their child was habitually truant from school. The bill states that all families with children 16 and younger who are truant in school will be removed from the state’s Family Assistance Program (FIP). The bill is being sponsored by Rep. Al Pscholka (R-District 79), who, along with DHHS, has been trying to tie FIP benefits to school attendance since October 2012.
Though an attempt to encourage families to keep their children in school, is admirable, the bill is heavy on using the “stick” rather than the “carrot.” According to Rep. Pscholka, families can regain these benefits once it is proven that their child has attended school for 21days consecutively. But, during those weeks these already struggling families will lose benefits that many see as crucial to daily survival. Is this really about fixing the truancy issue in our state, or is this merely demonizing the poor without thought about their circumstances as to why the child is absent from school?
Removing a family from the cash assistance program for their child’s absence can have a domino effect on the family which may result in greater problems than what existed before. Revoking a family’s cash assistance for 21 days can be detrimental to the sanctity of that family unit as statistics often tie poverty to heightened stress.
According to the Michigan League for Public Policy, “[t]hese are the poorest of poor families with incomes just above extreme poverty (income under half of the poverty level, or $9,385 for a family of three). Families receiving [FIP] have very few resources or support systems and already face a number of challenges, including inconsistent work schedules; lack of access to quality, affordable child care; and reliable transportation. Eliminating their cash assistance will do nothing to address these challenges and will make life more difficult for their children.”
Truancy bill bad for families - Michigan League for Public Policy
Keeping our Kids in School – Michigan’s School Justice Partnership
School Truancy Reduction – Michigan Committee on Juvenile Justice
Posted by MCCD on Friday, May 22nd, 2015 @ 2:07PM
Categories: In the News, Michigan Council on Crime and Delinquency, School-to-Prison Pipeline