The Jackson County Intermediate School District’s Early Truancy Intervention program provides home-based support services to families with elementary school-aged children, grades K-5, who have been referred by their elementary school for attendance difficulties, including excessive absenteeism and/or tardiness. The ETI program provides referred families with needed support services to identify and overcome barriers that interfere with their child’s regular and timely attendance. The primary goals of the ETI program are to promote regular attendance habits and increase and maintain consistent attendance of elementary school-aged children. To achieve these goals, the ETI program provides families with support services that include: a comprehensive Family Needs Assessment, the development and implementation of a Family Intervention Plan, monitoring of family progress towards intervention goals, link referred families to existing community resources and programs, parenting education, advocacy to ensure families have access to needed supports and services and monitors student attendance. Additional support is provided to families of children who have been referred for absenteeism due to head lice. Finally, the program provides elementary schools with support in their effort to address excessive absenteeism and tardiness of elementary school-aged students at the school level prior to a referral to the Jackson County Intermediate School District.
In addition to case management, the Early Truancy Intervention program provides a number of home and community-based services and interventions that directly support families to improve their child’s academic achievement. In addition to supporting the family to improve academic achievement, the services and interventions provided by the Early Truancy Intervention program promotes positive parenting and strong families.
The United Way of Jackson County has countless success stories with all of our funded partners and here is just one of many from ETI. The Early Truancy Intervention program received a referral for Tommy Doe who was in kindergarten. The referral and accompanying attendance record indicated that Tommy was chronically tardy up to three hours per school day. The Early Truancy Intervention Coordinator was eventually able to make contact with Tommy’s mom. At the first home-visit, Tommy’s mom presented as disinterested and lethargic. During the Family Needs Assessment, the Early Truancy Intervention Coordinator learned that Tommy’s mom has been treated long-term for depression. Tommy’s mom reported that the doctor re- prescribed Effexor XR for her because “everything else has failed to work”. Tommy’s mom went on to explain that she does not have health insurance from work and does not qualify for Medicaid. She further explained she tried to fill the prescription but the 90 day prescription had a price tag of $468.00. Tommy’s mom stated she couldn’t possibly afford it. Tommy’s mom was honest in reporting that her untreated depression has made it difficult to wake up in the morning to getting Tommy up and ready for school. She further reported that although she sets the alarm, she sleeps right through it. The Early Truancy Intervention Coordinator suggested the family develop an alternative plan by placing the alarm clock in Tommy’s room and showing Tommy how to turn off the alarm after he wakes mom up each morning. Tommy’s mom stated that she would. The Early Truancy Intervention Coordinator assisted Tommy’s mom with securing and completing an application from Pfizer Rx Pathways Patient Assistance Program that would provide free medication to Tommy’s mom as she was income eligible. Tommy’s mom scheduled an appointment with her physician so that he could complete his part of the application and be mailed in on her behalf. The Early Truancy Intervention Coordinator also assisted Tommy’s mom with the application to become a member of GoodRx and receive the discount card. The Early Truancy Intervention Coordinator taught Tommy’s mom how to navigate the website and print off her coupon vouchers. With this assistance, Tommy’s mom was able to have her 90 day prescription filled at Kmart for $36.88. This was a savings of $431.12! Tommy’s mom got her prescription filled. Although efficacy can take up to 8 weeks for full benefit, Tommy’s mom’s symptoms improved with medication as did Tommy’s chronic tardiness. Tommy’s mom returned to normal functioning and was able to get Tommy up and ready for school on school days which significantly increased Tommy’s instructional time at school.