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Truancy Reduction Demonstration Program

Purpose

To reduce the number of truant children and adolescents because truancy can be a first step to a lifetime of unemployment, crime, and incarceration.

Background

The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) and the Executive Office of Weed and Seed (W&S) within the Office of Justice Programs at the U.S. Department of Justice and the Safe and Drug-Free Schools Program (SDFSP), U.S. Department of Education, are supporting a grant program to reduce the problem of truancy. These agencies will also support a separate project to evaluate the Truancy Reduction Demonstration Program. The evaluation solicitation appears elsewhere in this program announcement under the title Evaluation of the Truancy Reduction Demonstration Program. The funded sites for the demonstration will be expected to cooperate fully with the national evaluator by collecting process, impact, and baseline data and to collaborate across sites in order to document through qualitative and quantitative measures the training and implementation processes and the variables indicating success, the efficacy of specific program components, and the impact of the program.

For both program announcements, truancy is defined as being gone from school for some portion of at least 3 school days during a 5-day school week without a legitimate excuse (Huizinga and Jacob-Chien, 1998).

OJJDP and SDFSP have jointly supported a comprehensive initiative entitled Youth Out of the Education Mainstream to address the needs of youth who do not attend school regularly because they are truants or dropouts, afraid to go to school, suspended or expelled, or in need of help to be reintegrated into mainstream schools from juvenile detention or correctional settings. This solicitation specifically addresses the problem of truancy that continues to plague many schools and communities across the country.

Truancy often leads to dropping out of school, delinquency, and drug abuse. OJJDP has supported the longitudinal Program of Research on the Causes and Correlates of Delinquency in which teams at the University of Albany, State University of New York; the University of Colorado; and the University of Pittsburgh interviewed 4,000 participants at regular intervals for nearly a decade (Huizinga, Loeber, and Thornberry, 1995). Findings from the three study sites (Rochester, NY; Denver, CO; and Pittsburgh, PA) provide valuable data on delinquency that help explain how truant behavior may be a pathway for later delinquency and criminal activity. From the Pittsburgh Youth Study, which examined an all-male sample, the study shows that the development of disruptive and delinquent behavior of boys generally takes place in a progressive fashion along developmental pathways. Child and adolescent development of disruptive behaviors can be viewed from the less serious problem behaviors (such as running away and truancy) preceding more serious problem behaviors (such as lying and shoplifting to stealing and assault). This kind of information is beneficial in guiding program designs to address truancy reduction.

Failure to address the underlying needs of these at-risk youth can impose staggering economic and social costs on society if youth are left without adequate skills to secure employment and become self-sufficient adults. If truancy leads to failure to graduate, this costs students an education and results in reduced earning capacity. It costs school districts hundreds of thousands of dollars each year in lost Federal and State funds that are based on average daily attendance figures. All taxpayers pay when young people do not graduate from school. For example, there are high law enforcement and welfare costs related to dropouts who choose to follow a life of crime or enter welfare rolls. Businesses bear additional costs to train uneducated workers who need remedial reading instruction before training can begin on specific job skills. This is consistent with findings from the Causes and Correlates study that found students with low reading achievement show delinquent behavior more often than students with higher reading scores and thus are at greater risk of truancy and dropping out of school (Huizinga, Loeber, and Thornberry, 1995).

The amount of time actually spent in class is a good measure of student access to an education. Each instance of absence or lateness means a student has given up an opportunity to learn or experience the continuity of the academic program of study. In public schools across the country, many students are absent on a daily basis without a legitimate excuse.

Truant students are at higher risk of being drawn into behavior involving drugs, alcohol, gangs or violence. A California deputy assistant attorney who handles truancy cases says he has "never seen a gang member who wasn't a truant first" (Kass, 1996). Several studies have documented the correlation between drug use and truancy. A report from the University of Maryland found that 51 percent of female juvenile detainees not in school at the time of their arrests tested positive for drug use (Wish, Gray, and Levine, 1996). Another study by the U.S. Department of Justice's Drug Use Forecasting program reported that more than half (53 percent) of a group of 403 male juvenile arrestees in San Diego, CA, tested positive for illicit drugs when taken to juvenile hall. Not surprisingly, those who did not attend school were more likely (67 percent versus 49 percent) to test positive for illicit drugs than those who did attend (San Diego Association of Governments, 1996).

Many police departments report that daytime crime rates are rising in part because of incidents involving truants. They are vandalizing cars, shoplifting, and scrawling graffiti on buildings (Shuster, 1995).

When police in Van Nuys, CA, conducted a 3-week truancy sweep, shoplifting arrests of juveniles fell 60 percent. Similar reductions in crime resulted in other jurisdictions when police began picking up truants and taking them to a truancy dropoff center or student attendance center (Shuster, 1995).

In 1995, the courts formally processed approximately 37,400 truancy cases, a 46-percent increase from 1991 and an 80-percent increase from 1986-that is, 5- and 10-year trends respectively in the courts' processing of truancy cases (Sickmund, 1997).

OJJDP's longitudinal research program also provides valuable data on the later behavior of truant youth:

For both males and females, roughly two-thirds of serious violent offenders and one half of serious nonviolent offenders were truant. This compares to about 40 percent for delinquents and 20 percent for nondelinquents. Among males, serious offenders account for about one half of all the truants. However, this sizable overlap is not seen for females, where only 18 percent of truants were serious offenders (Huizinga and Jacob-Chien, 1998).

This research data reinforces the premise that truant behavior is a risk factor for later delinquency and serious and violent juvenile offending. Approaches to prevention of and intervention with truancy that seek to reduce identified risk factors and, at the same time, enhance protective factors are likely to be most effective in preventing serious, violent, and chronic delinquency and crime (Howell, 1995).

Truancy has become such a problem that some cities have passed ordinances allowing citations to be issued to either the parent or the truant. Court proceedings can result in a $500 fine or 30 days in jail for the parent and suspension of the youth's license to drive (National School Safety Center, 1994).

Two broad, common influences, each with its own risk factors, underlie the reasons that youth leave school:

  1. Environmental influences. These influences include negative role models exemplified by friends who are truant; pressures related to family, health, and/or financial concerns; difficulties related to coping with teen pregnancy, teen marriages, or parenthood; alcohol and drug use; lack of family support and motivation for education in general; and fear of attending school due to violence in or near youth's homes and/or schools.

  2. School-related influences. These include the lack of motivation related to poor academic performance, such as the inability to read and perform math exercises at grade level and the failure to keep pace with other students in lessons or promotions, and low self-esteem derived from being classified as verbally deficient or a slow learner (National School Safety Center, 1994).

Findings from numerous research studies indicate that prevention of delinquency requires accurate identification of risk factors, such as truancy, that increase the likelihood of delinquent behavior and the protective factors, such as bonding or connectedness with parents, family, and school and a positive home environment, that enhance positive adolescent development. The implications of the Pittsburgh Youth Study on developmental pathways for prevention of disruptive and delinquent behavior are that age-appropriate strategies must be devised to assist children in mastering key developmental tasks. Child development cannot be neatly compartmentalized, so a comprehensive approach must be followed to meet the needs, identify the interests, and foster the strengths of the total child or adolescent. Several preventive intervention strategies and programs identified as effective in the area of truancy reduction are featured in OJJDP's Guide to Implementing the Comprehensive Strategy for Serious, Violent, and Chronic Juvenile Offenders (Howell, 1995). Also, joint publications of OJJDP and SDFSP, Creating Safe and Drug-Free Schools and Manual To Combat Truancy, provide descriptive information on effective and promising truancy intervention programs (OJJDP and the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education, 1996; SDFSP and OJJDP, 1996).

Applicants are expected to incorporate best practices in truancy reduction from research literature and other related publications and innovative strategies from the field to help in the development of the program design. See the References section at the end of this solicitation for information on useful publications.

Goals

To develop and implement or expand and strengthen comprehensive truancy programs that pool education, justice system, law enforcement, social services, and community resources to (1) identify truant youth; (2) cooperatively design and implement comprehensive, systemwide programs to meet the needs of truants; and (3) design and maintain systems for tracking truant youth.

Objectives

Program objectives are provided under the Program Elements section of this solicitation.

Project Strategy

This solicitation is directed toward urban, rural,1 and tribal schools and communities and Weed and Seed sites that are engaged in integrated, communitywide plans to ameliorate truancy. The solicitation outlines a comprehensive program with four major components: (1) system reform and accountability; (2) continuum of services to address the needs of children and adolescents who are truant; (3) data collection and evaluation; and (4) a community education and awareness program that addresses the need to prevent truancy from kindergarten through grade 12 and intervene with youth who are truant.

Because of the challenging nature of the program, applications are invited from entities that can demonstrate (1) a commitment to undertake system reform, (2) the existing capacity to effect this major enterprise through a communitywide collaborative,2 and (3) the existence of legislation and/or policies that promote unified education, justice, law enforcement, and other systems approaches, encourage innovative reform of the education and justice systems, and strengthen coordination between and integration of the two systems. It is important to understand that proposed programs are to be developed within larger community-based initiatives3 or plans already under way in the applicant jurisdiction, when feasible. Applicants must work collaboratively with local school districts, law enforcement, juvenile justice, social services agencies, and community organizations to develop and implement a comprehensive, systemwide truancy prevention and intervention program. Applicants must demonstrate efforts to collaborate by providing written commitments from the above entities that include staffing, funding, services, other resources, and/or in-kind support. Finally, applicants are encouraged to leverage this grant with other new or reallocated public/private funding or in-kind services. Specific information should be provided on collaborative efforts and the leveraging of funds or any in-kind support and services in the appropriate sections of the application (i.e., Program Design and Budget sections). Written documentation of collaborative efforts, leveraged funds, and in-kind support and services for this particular truancy reduction program should be provided in an appendix.

During a 6-month planning phase, recipients will develop a plan for a multiagency training curriculum that is based on an assessment of training needs among personnel in the education, juvenile justice, law enforcement, social services systems, and youth-serving organizations that includes (1) people and professions to be trained, (2) cultural considerations in policy and practice, (3) recognition of risk factors that may lead to truant behavior, (4) the importance of comprehensive assessment and treatment of children and adolescents who are truant, (5) cross-discipline instruction, and (6) followup resources.

During the planning phase, both the program sites and the national evaluation grantee will be required to work collaboratively to develop a logic model showing how project inputs, activities,and outputs are expected to accomplish goals and objectives. During this phase, sites may expect the assistance of the national evaluation grantee to determine appropriate roles for participants in the collaborative, to clarify goals, and to set up a data base. Sites should expect the national evaluator to provide continual monitoring of the processes and feedback to project staff for corrective action.

It is anticipated that the remaining project period will focus on, but not be limited to:

Bullet The development of implementation and evaluation plans that link children and adolescents who are truant with community-based services and programs.
Bullet A timeline of activities and deliverables that address implementation and evaluation objectives.
Bullet Preparation of a Resource Directory of local services to address the needs of children and adolescents and their families in the areas of truancy and risk factors related to truancy.
Bullet Development and implementation of a Prevention Education and Public Information media package.
Bullet Full implementation of the community's comprehensive systemwide plan to prevent and intervene with the problem of truancy.

Target Population

The target population for this project includes (1) children and adolescents identified as truant, (2) supportive family members or guardians of truants, and (3) the community at large where the applicant is located.

Program Elements

System Reform and Accountability

Jurisdictions are to engage in innovative strategies to improve policies, practices, and services of the education, justice, social services, law enforcement, and health systems in preventing, identifying, and intervening in truancy cases; improving outcomes for truants and their families; and providing an approach that holds truants and parents or guardians of truants accountable for truant behavior. Critical to the effort is comprehensive, ongoing, cross-discipline training. Education personnel including administrators, principals, teachers, and counselors; justice, law enforcement, and social services personnel; and policymakers need to be sensitized to the barriers to successful outcomes and knowledgeable about the personal and social consequences of repeated school failure, the frustration of illiteracy and learning disabilities, and the fear of being held back or placed in a remedial class or program.

The objectives of this program element are:

Bullet To increase the ability of the multiple systems4 that interact with children, adolescents, and their families to prevent, identify, and treat truancy.
Bullet To ensure the accountability of truants and parents or guardians of truants for truant behavior.
Bullet To improve the ability of courts to effectively and productively adjudicate all cases relating to children and adolescents who are truant.
Bullet To improve the communication and relationships among education, law enforcement, social services, justice system, youth-serving organizations, businesses, and other professional groups that deal with truancy or are impacted adversely by truant youth through the development of innovative partnering approaches, especially community policing.
Bullet To ensure the effectiveness of community mechanisms for identifying and delivering services to help truants return to school on a regular basis and to help those at risk of truancy.
Bullet To promptly identify the risk factors in the lives of truant children and adolescents that lead to truancy and develop strategies to mitigate those risk factors.
Bullet To strengthen the knowledge base and capabilities of professionals at all levels of the agencies responding to truancy to ensure that the community's policymakers, agency and program administrators, and practitioners deliver services in a manner that reflects their understanding of community norms and the ethnic and cultural backgrounds of the children and families they serve.

Continuum of Services To Support Children and Youth Who Are Truant and Their Families

Jurisdictions and schools are to collaborate in the development and/or strengthening of a continuum of support services for truant children and adolescents to help promote regular school attendance and to provide parent or guardian training on the importance and value of an education and on the laws requiring mandatory school attendance.

The objectives of this program element are:

Bullet To identify gaps in providing a full range of education and social services, including health, mental health, and family support services.
Bullet To develop, initiate, or expand needed services, especially prevention and early intervention programs such as home visitation and followup visits.
Bullet To improve the delivery and expansion of services to underserved and rural areas through the use of new technologies, trained practitioners, and satellite offices.
Bullet To identify ways, when feasible, that current services and resources available through the school system, social service agencies, community-based organizations, the faith community, and youth-serving organizations can be redeployed and other resources leveraged to support truant children, adolescents, and their families or guardians.
Bullet To identify and make use of the school system, youth-serving organizations, and informal networks such as extended families in the assessment and delivery of education, social services, and family services for truant children and adolescents and their families or guardians.
Bullet To assess barriers that prevent the school system and the community from implementing effective truancy prevention programs and implement strategies to overcome those barriers.

Data Collection and Evaluation

Grantees will participate in a national evaluation of the Truancy Reduction Demonstration Project. Schools and jurisdictions are to ensure that quality data are collected and used consistent with laws governing information sharing between schools and other youth-serving agencies under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act,5 in collaboration with the national evaluator of this program. Schools and jurisdictions are also to ensure the compatibility of the data collected on the various components of the education, justice, social services, and related systems and on the family. The exchange of such data among system components should be fostered to achieve expedient yet complete outcomes of truancy cases. Collaboration for the evaluation is encouraged and may include adjustments in data collection and evaluation protocols that will permit measurement of processes and outcomes across sites, where this is possible.

The objectives of this program element are:

Bullet To improve information sharing across systems and agencies relative to the management of truancy cases that is consistent with laws governing pupil privacy and to put into effect uniform data collection standards.
Bullet To participate in the national evaluation of this program's practices and outcomes to determine whether a communitywide, interdisciplinary response is making a positive difference for truant children and adolescents and their families or guardians and to evaluate the effectiveness of providing prevention and early intervention services tailored to the child's/adolescent's and family's particular risk factors and needs.

Grantees will be expected to cooperate with OJJDP's national evaluator in collecting process and impact evaluation data and generating process and impact evaluation reports. Examples of other types of information to be collected include, but are not limited to, descriptions of the following:

Bullet Local planning mechanisms and processes and factors, distinguishing structural features and services, budgets, staffing, target populations, clients served, average length of program services, and short-term results.
Bullet External factors such as budget issues, changing demographics, and local statutes and policies affecting the operation and outcomes of the collaborative partnerships to prevent and intervene in truancy.

Each funded site will be expected to acquire the capability to use the Internet to communicate with other sites, the evaluator, and OJJDP.

Prevention Education and Public Information

Jurisdictions are to conduct broad-based, multimedia information and prevention education campaigns to increase general awareness of a truant referral process (to be developed by each grantee), acquaint community members with services and initiatives resulting from the program, and educate parents about behaviors and risk factors that may place a child or adolescent at risk of truancy and about strategies to address those behaviors and risk factors.

The objectives of this program element are:

Bullet To educate community residents about the need to address truant behavior early.
Bullet To decrease the school system's and the community's tolerance of truancy and increase the capacity of the community to address the needs of the truant or those at risk of truancy and their families.

Products

The products may include:

Bullet Training and technical assistance needs assessment of personnel who will work collaboratively across systems to address the problem of truancy.
Bullet A training curriculum for personnel to learn to work collaboratively across systems to address the problem of truancy.
Bullet Interim and final evaluation reports for the national evaluator. Sites are to prepare interim and final evaluation reports as requested describing progress on process, impact, and baseline measures.
Bullet Comprehensive, systemwide implementation plan to address the problem of truancy.
Bullet A Prevention Education and Public Information media package to increase general awareness of the problem of truancy and ways to impact it proactively and comprehensively.
Bullet Final report of the Truancy Reduction Demonstration Project. Each site is to prepare a final project report that includes, but is not limited to, program impact, lessons learned, and success stories.

Eligibility Requirements

OJJDP invites applications from public and private agencies, organizations, institutions, and individuals. Private, for-profit organizations must agree to waive any profit or fee. Joint applications from two or more eligible applicants are welcome; however, one applicant must be clearly indicated as the primary applicant (for correspondence, award, and management purposes) and the others indicated as coapplicants. School districts must apply jointly with law enforcement, juvenile justice, and youth-serving organizations. Applicants other than school districts must apply jointly with school districts.

Selection Criteria

Applicants will be evaluated and rated by a peer review panel according to the criteria outlined below.

Problem(s) To Be Addressed (10 points)

The applicant must outline the scope and nature of the truancy problem and the risk factors related to this problem in the applicant's school district, school, and community and describe the target population. The applicant must also provide justification for the proposed effort based on the results of a community assessment process and prioritize the major issues related to the truancy problem within the applicant community. Issues might include, for example, running away, shoplifting, staying out late, vandalism, stealing, and drug and alcohol use. The applicant should discuss the problems of communitywide/cross-agency collaboration and demonstrate that it has engaged the appropriate stakeholders in its planning process and that it possesses a clear understanding of the processes, supports, and necessary steps to overcome any impediments to community collaboration.

Goals and Objectives (10 points)

Applicants will be given a 6-month planning phase to develop the program and design the implementation plan around the goals and objectives.

The applicant must outline its vision for addressing truancy, describing how the involved systems and agencies will operate upon conclusion of the planning, training, and implementation phases. The applicant must provide goals and specific measurable objectives for the planning process. At a minimum, these objectives should address the priority issues delineated in the Problem(s) To Be Addressed section, the solicitation's goals, program elements and objectives, and the planning process as it supports achievement of the solicitation's goals and objectives.

Project Design (35 points)

Bullet The applicant must describe the intended planning process and detail the major activities that will be undertaken in the development of the implementation plan. A timeline of major planning, training, implementation events, and products must be included. Training or professional development services must be of sufficient quality, intensity, and duration to lead to sustained improvements in practice among system recipients. The applicant must describe how proposed plans will establish, build on, and/or fit within current and past communitywide planning processes to achieve the solicitation's objectives. (Sites containing Weed and Seed neighborhoods, for example, should show how their plans make use of Weed and Seed strategies to address truancy communitywide.6) For all applicants, this can be shown in a number of ways:

Bullet Expanding existing interagency agreements to include the additional stakeholders needed to address truancy.
Bullet Developing community policing efforts aimed at preventing, identifying, and intervening in truancy cases.
Bullet Creating or expanding targeted programs to address the needs of truants.

Bullet The applicant must describe in detail activities, responsibilities, and timelines required to meet the goals and objectives of the truancy reduction program. Activities must be part of a comprehensive program that includes multiple systems.
Bullet The applicant must indicate how proposed plans address or will address considerations for meeting the needs of truant children and adolescents and their families or guardians-including, where appropriate, multiethnic, multicultural, and gender-specific issues related to truancy reduction. The description should convey a clear understanding of those considerations and issues.
Bullet With respect to data collection and evaluation, the national truancy reduction program evaluator (a separate grantee) will work with sites to identify specific variables or indicators by which to measure process, performance, and outcomes of the whole initiative and of selected component programs. The set of measures will include some variables that can be compared across sites. In this section, each applicant is to describe how it proposes to work with the national evaluator and other sites to develop the variables and to work with the national evaluator to collect the identified data. Performance feedback and continuous improvement must be integral to the project design.

Applicants are also to describe how they intend to work collaboratively with the national evaluator in developing their program design during the 6-month planning phase of the Truancy Reduction Demonstration Project.

Management and Organizational Capability (35 points)

Applicants should use this section to describe a sound governance structure capable of carrying out the proposed initiative and to demonstrate the following:

Bullet Readiness to reform. Discuss the community's history of collaboration and planning as it addressed or addresses truancy. Include a description of the participants, major milestones, and the process of assessment. Clarify what has been done, what is in process, and what remains to be done. Note any training or technical assistance that has been received and by whom.
Bullet Capacity to build and sustain a community collaborative.7 Demonstrate the viability of creating a multidisciplinary arrangement whereby various agencies in a jurisdiction are working cooperatively or collaboratively to improve the community's response to truant behavior. Descriptions should answer the following questions:

Bullet Who are members of the group?
Bullet How are members selected?
Bullet What constituency does each member represent?
Bullet What are the roles and responsibilities of each group member?
Applicants also must document that the collaborative or cooperative groups represent all the relevant stakeholders8 needed to reduce the incidence of truant behavior in the community. The documentation should provide answers to the following questions:
Bullet How will the group make decisions?
Bullet How often will it meet?
Bullet How will responsibilities be divided among members?
Bullet How will the group carry out its activities?
Bullet What resources will the group manage?
Bullet What are the sources of those resources?
Bullet To what individual in what agency is the group responsible?
Bullet What authority will the group have?

Bullet Evidence of favorable policies and/or legislation. Characterize the political and administrative environments and give evidence of political or administrative support for the proposed community-based planning effort to combat truancy. Give examples of favorable policies or legislation.

In demonstrating that the collaborative and governance structures form an infrastructure capable of carrying out the project outlined in this solicitation, applicants must also:

Bullet Identify the roles and responsibilities of each involved agency, committee, board, or other entity and explain its relationship to the overall effort.
Bullet Name and describe the capabilities and experience of all staff and consultants who will play lead roles in developing, implementing, and managing the program's design. Résumés of key personnel or consultants must be provided in an appendix.
Bullet Indicate the percentage of time for each named staff or consultant.
Bullet Describe the management practices that will be used to evaluate program progress and to ensure corrective action.

Staff must have experience and training appropriate to their job description for this program, e.g., personnel and/or consultants in the areas of systemwide planning and collaboration, training and technical assistance delivery, and management and in the performance of other work outlined in this announcement. Program staff must also have training and have successfully worked in the areas of truancy and/or delinquency prevention and intervention and in education and related services for children with special needs that include students with learning disabilities and related disabilities.

Budget (10 points)

The proposed budget must be complete, reasonable, allowable, and cost effective in relation to the work to be performed.

Applicants are also to identify all assistance that will be used to leverage this award, indicating the source and amount of funds.

Applicants from communities with Weed and Seed sites (refer to footnote #2) are to budget for up to $15,000, while other applicants are to budget for up to $25,000 for the planning phase of the program design with the remaining funds designated for training, implementation, and evaluation activities for the initial 1-year budget period. Once the planning phase has been completed and the plan approved, the balance of implementation funds for the initial budget period will be released.

Applicants are to provide specific and detailed planning budget figures and supporting budget narrative. The remainder of the award funds (up to $35,000 per Weed and Seed sites and up to $75,000 per larger community sites) should be designated for training, implementation, and evaluation activities. OJJPD, W&S, and SDFSP recognize that the implementation portion of the budget will need to be preliminary because the selected entities will develop detailed training and implementation budgets during the planning phase. The budget narrative must clearly and comprehensively describe the activities and strategies proposed and the persons or agencies responsible for training and implementation.

Travel funds are to be set aside in the budget to enable two to three people from each grantee to attend up to three meetings in Washington, D.C., during the first year and up to two meetings in Washington, D.C., over the 2 remaining years of the project period. Given the complexity of the solicited program, it is suggested that applicants assign one experienced, high-level person full time to manage the planning collaborative. Applicants should also allocate funds to enable one or more persons within the core systems to devote substantial time to coordinating efforts within their respective agencies. Similar initiatives have found the use of an outside facilitator essential to keeping the planning process moving.

As further evidence of commitment and capability, applicants are encouraged to leverage this award with other funds. The applicant must show the amount and source of any leveraged funding commitments or in-kind services and note whether the funds are reallocated or new. Reallocated funds can be local, State, or other Federal funds directed to this initiative.

Appendixes

To help gauge the likelihood of grantee success, applicants are to submit the following appendixes as evidence of their readiness and potential:

Bullet Statement of Collaborative Application. Each applicant must submit documentation that the application is a collaborative or joint submission by all necessary stakeholders. As evidence, the applicant must submit a statement asserting that each party signing was substantially involved in the development of the application. The statement must contain each person's original signature, typed/printed name, address, telephone number, and affiliation (title and agency or role)-e.g., signatures from a school administrator, judge, law enforcement officer, and probation official within the target community.
Bullet Collaborative Efforts. The applicant must demonstrate that collaborative efforts with various groups, organizations, and agencies have been achieved to help ensure the success of this Truancy Reduction Demonstration Project. Evidence of collaborative efforts can be demonstrated by providing in an appendix interagency agreements and protocols that reflect a multidisciplinary approach to truancy prevention and early intervention. At a minimum, such agreements will be among the following organizations and agencies: social services, youth-serving organizations, community and business volunteer groups, the faith-based community, and the stakeholder groups of education, juvenile justice, law enforcement, and probation.
Bullet Evidence of Favorable Policies and/or Legislation. Applicants are to document the existence of a favorable climate by listing current agency policies or local or State legislation that aids interagency, communitywide collaboration in regard to truancy and related issues.

Format

The narrative portion of this application must not exceed 25 pages in length (excluding forms, assurances, and appendixes) and must be submitted on 8½- by 11-inch paper, double spaced on one side of the paper in a standard 12-point font. All the appendixes cannot exceed 15 pages in length. These standards are necessary to maintain a fair and uniform standard among all applicants. If the narrative does not conform to these standards, OJJDP will deem the application ineligible for consideration.

Award Period

The project period will be 3 years, funded in three 1-year budget periods. Funding after the first budget period depends on grantee performance, availability of funds, and other criteria established at the time of award.

Award Amount

Up to $550,000 is available for first-year funding of this program. A minimum of three cooperative agreements up to $50,000 each are to be awarded to support programs that serve a Weed and Seed site. In addition, a maximum of four cooperative agreements up to $100,000 each are to be awarded to support non-Weed and Seed jurisdictions. At least one of these awards will serve a large urban school district.

Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number

For this program, the CFDA number, which is required on Standard Form 424, Application for Federal Assistance, is 16.541. This form is included in OJJDP's Application Kit, which can be obtained by calling the Juvenile Justice Clearinghouse at 800-638-8736 or sending an e-mail request to puborder@ncjrs.org. The Application Kit is also available online. (See the Introduction for more contact information.)

Coordination of Federal Efforts

To encourage better coordination among Federal agencies in addressing State and local needs, the U.S. Department of Justice is requesting applicants to provide information on the following: (1) active Federal grant award(s) supporting this or related efforts, including awards from the U.S. Department of Justice; (2) any pending application(s) for Federal funds for this or related efforts; and (3) plans for coordinating any funds described in items (1) or (2) with the funding sought by this application. For each Federal award, applicants must include the program or project title, the Federal grantor agency, the amount of the award, and a brief description of its purpose.

"Related efforts" is defined for these purposes as one of the following:

Bullet Efforts for the same purpose (i.e., the proposed award would supplement, expand, complement, or continue activities funded with other Federal grants).
Bullet Another phase or component of the same program or project (e.g., to implement a planning effort funded by other Federal funds or to provide a substance abuse treatment or education component within a criminal justice project).
Bullet Services of some kind (e.g., technical assistance, research, or evaluation) to the program or project described in the application.

Delivery Instructions

All application packages must be mailed or delivered to the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, c/o Juvenile Justice Resource Center, 2277 Research Boulevard, Mail Stop 2K, Rockville, MD 20850; 301-519-5535. Note: In the lower left-hand corner of the envelope, you must clearly write "Truancy Reduction Demonstration Project."

Due Date

Applicants are responsible for ensuring that the original and five copies of the application package are received by 5 p.m. ET on July 29, 1998.

Contact

For further information, call Cora Roy-Stevens at 202-307-5914, or send an e-mail inquiry to royc@ojp.usdoj.gov.

References

Catterall, J. 1987. On the social costs of dropping out of school. The High School Journal 71:4-5.

DeVise, D. 1995. Area schools get tough on truants. Long Beach Press Telegram (October 3):B1.

Garry, E. 1996. Truancy: First Step to a Lifetime of Problems. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, pp.1-7.

Howell, J.C., ed. 1995. Guide for Implementing the Comprehensive Strategy for Serious, Violent, and Chronic Juvenile Offenders. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, pp. 67-70.

Huizinga, D., and Jacob-Chien, C. 1998. The contemporaneous co-occurrence of serious and violent juvenile offending and other problem behavior. In Serious and Violent Juvenile Offenders: Risk Factors and Successful Interventions, by R. Loeber and D.P. Farrington. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc., p. 57.

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1 Rural is defined here as a State that has a population density of 52 or fewer persons per square mile or a State in which the largest county has fewer than 150,000 people, based on the 1990 decennial census. Under this definition, rural States are Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, and Wyoming. The following are eligible: all States on behalf of rural jurisdictions, Indian tribal governments, local governments of rural States, and public and private entities of rural States. (The definition of a rural jurisdiction within a nonrural State is determined by the State.)

2 The communitywide collaborative must have representation from all relevant stakeholders and their written commitments that describe the type of specific participation each will provide. This includes policymakers, decisionmakers, and frontline workers from law enforcement, education, prosecution, the courts, child welfare, health, and family services. Other key stakeholders are families, resource experts, community and neighborhood organizations, and religious institutions.

3 Programs are to be firmly centered within larger community-based initiatives. Examples would include the Weed and Seed program, Comprehensive Communities Program, Family Support and Preservation Plans, State Court Improvement Program, SafeFutures, Project PACT (Pulling America's Communities Together), HopeVI, Empowerment Zones and Enterprise Communities, OJJDP's Title V and Challenge Grant demonstrations, New Futures, Cities In Schools, and the projects of the National Funding Collaborative on Violence Prevention.

4 At a minimum, these are the justice, child welfare, family services, medical, mental health, and education systems.

5 Educators and other youth-serving professionals will find clear directions on how to share information while complying with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act in the joint publication of OJJDP and the Family Policy Compliance Office within the Department of Education entitled Sharing Information: A Guide to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act and Participation in Juvenile Justice Programs (free copies are available from the Juvenile Justice Clearinghouse at 800-638-8736).

6 Although Weed and Seed efforts are directed at discrete neighborhoods within a larger community, efforts to reduce truancy need the cooperation of systems and personnel located outside those neighborhoods.

7 Applicants should note that collaboratives differ from coordinated or cooperating groups in that members of a collaborative share responsibility, accountability, and resources. In this instance, a communitywide collaborative will extend and institutionalize multidisciplinary practices across all the systems that prevent, intervene in, or treat truancy (or have the potential to do so). Core systems in such a collaborative are education, justice, social services, and youth-serving organizations. Additionally, communitywide responses to truancy may also involve the faith community, nonprofit agencies, and the media.

8 Stakeholders for this purpose are those parties who (a) are decisionmakers or influence makers, (b) are likely to be affected by decisions, or (c) have specific, needed expertise.


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