Regional Office of Education #9
Champaign - Ford Counties
Programs: Attendance Improvement Program (AIP)
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The Illinois School Code states that compulsory school attendance is required by every child between the ages of seven (7) and sixteen (16) years of age. If a child does not attend school regularly for reasons other than illness, observance of religious holiday, family emergency or death in the family, which can be verifiable, he or she is considered truant. The Statute further provides for the Regional Superintendent to appoint a truant officer to serve the various districts under its direction. The Regional Superintendent has appointed the Assistant Regional Superintendent as the Truant Officer for Champaign and Ford Counties.
The program is designed to reduce the current and future number of truants and dropouts in Champaign and Ford Counties.
The program offers a variety of prevention and intervention services. These services include attendance incentives, student advocacy, case management, home visits, school visits, referral to agencies for counseling, and technical assistance to individual school districts and the community. These services are provided based on the needs of individual students, parents, and schools, and are used in designing an individualized service plan for each student. Attendance specialists coordinate program services with school and community services to provide each student with a successful educational plan.
The mission of the program is to provide and coordinate services for students who are experiencing attendance problems so the potential for each student to achieve academic success is maximized.
The Attendance Improvement Program implemented the Abolish Chronic Truancy (A.C.T.) Program during the 1999-2000 school year in Champaign County. The A.C.T. Program holds accountable those parents of elementary and middle school children who are excessively unexcused absent from school. These parents are advised that they may be prosecuted by the State's Attorney for failing to ensure their child's regular school attendance. In addition, referrals are provided for whatever school, medical, or community assistance is needed. This program deals primarily with elementary school children and seeks to cover not only the seriously truant children but also those who are just starting to develop truant behavior by excessive absences, which are inappropriately excused by the parents. Therefore, the A.C.T. program seeks to make parents accountable for their child's education in the same manner that they are held accountable to provide food, clothing, and shelter for their children.
The goals of the program are: improve school attendance through parental and child accountability, addressing attendance problems at the earliest possible time before the child's behavior is ingrained and while the parent still exercises control over the child (pre-high school), and long term reduction of delinquency, adult criminality and joblessness.
The purpose of the A.C.T. program is to decrease the number of truancy cases that require court intervention. Court is always a last resort and is only utilized when all other measures have failed in getting the child in school.
© 2005 Champaign-Ford Regional Office of Education