Truancy Diversion Program (TDP) volunteers who commit to a school-year of weekly truancy diversion court sessions on a Clark County School District (CCSD) campus will be recognized on Friday, May 27 at 5:30 p.m. to be held at the Sam’s Town Hotel and Gambling Hall in the Ponderosa Ballroom at 5111 Boulder Hwy. Each of the volunteers will be given an award and the opportunity to share their experience with clearing the way for students to walk on graduation day.
The TDP was established by Judge Gerald Hardcastle in 2002. Since 2007, the program has been overseen by District Court Judge Jennifer Elliott in collaboration with the CCSD. “The volunteer Truancy Diversion Judges are playing an important role in addressing the significant issue of truancy in Clark County. They listen to the kids, hear their issues, encourage and motivate them. They clear a path for the students to graduate and have the opportunity for college or a career,” said Judge Elliott. “The attorneys and other professionals who volunteer as judges find it very rewarding to help these students get on track to graduate. I invite attorneys, mental health professionals and law enforcement officers to be part of the solution to the significant problem of truancy in our schools.”
Clark County reported over 240,000 truant children for school-year 2014-2015.Those without a high school diploma face higher prospects of unemployment and the associated negative consequences. This collaborative effort between the CCSD has been structured to prevent and reduce youth crime, re-engage students in learning, and ultimately, reduce potential costs to our welfare and justice systems. It is a non-punitive, incentive-based approach to at-risk school students with truancy problems. A team (judge, family advocate, school personnel) works with the students and their families.
Judges, attorneys, mental health professionals and law enforcement officers volunteer approximately three hours each week to and hold truancy court sessions at schools, where they meet individually with students and their parents. They review the students’ attendance, school work, and progress to ensure that students have the resources they need to be successful. The TDP judges promote and support academic achievement using a team effort and an individual student success plan. Since 2007, the TDP has expanded from six to 80 schools including elementary, middle schools and high schools. The goal of the Eighth Judicial District Court Family Division is to continue to expand until all Clark County schools have a TDP program.
“The Truancy Diversion volunteers, along with Judge Elliott and her team, have accomplished much to fill some of the gaps to get students struggling with attendance on track and in school,” said Presiding Family Court Judge Charles Hoskin. “Their efforts are making a difference in the lives of young people and improving their chances for success.”
If you are a licensed attorney, mental health professional or law enforcement officer and are interested in volunteering as a TDP judge for this Specialty Court program please contact DeDe Parker at: 702-321-2410.The Family Court youth programs are a great example of how the Eighth Judicial District Court is using alternative, efficient methods to address crime and ensure justice. District Court continuously works to develop innovative ideas, improve efficiencies, address issues and improve access to justice.