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Keeping Our Kids Safe, Healthy & In School

Attendance, Truancy & Chronic Absenteeism

Student absenteeism can lead to low academic achievement, dropping out of school, delinquency and gang involvement.  School districts that have established multi-systemic approaches and policies pertaining to student absenteeism typically experience fewer numbers of dropouts and a greater number of graduates.

The compulsory education law (N.J.S.A. 18A:38-28 through 31) requires all children between the ages of 6-16 to attend school.  The attendance regulations (N.J.A.C. 6A:16-7.6), require each district board of education to develop, adopt and implement policies and procedures regarding the attendance of students, including the adoption of a definition of "unexcused absence" that counts towards truancy.  While the regulations allow for the parent to be referred to municipal court for a truant child, consideration should be made to refer or coordinate with a community-based social and health provider agency, other community resource, or the juvenile/family crisis intervention unit (FCIU). For more information contact the FCIU in your area.

Announced May 2017: Guidance for Reporting Student Absences and Calculating Chronic Absenteeism

Information and resources for the prevention and remediation of attendance problems can be found below in the following resources:

Government Agencies

Statutes

  • All References below can be found at the New Jersey Legislature's website or at Rutgers School of Law:

    • N.J.S.A. 18A:38-25 Attendance required of children between six and 16;
    • N.J.S.A. 18A:38-26 Days when attendance required
    • N.J.S.A. 18A:38-27 Truancy and juvenile delinquency defined
    • N.J.S.A. 18A:38-28 Truants;  return to parents or school
    • N.J.S.A. 18A:38-29 Warning and arrest of vagrants or habitual truants
    • N.J.S.A. 18A:38-30 Assistance of sheriffs, police officers, etc.
    • N.J.S.A. 18A:38-31 Failure to comply with provisions of article; fine
    • N.J.S.A. 18A:38-32 District and county vocational school attendance officers

Regulations

Reports

Resources for Educators

Toolkits

Other Health-Related Efforts

Organizations and Initiatives

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