Educational Neglect Diversion Services
For students aged 11 and younger, the primary responsibility for ensuring attendance lies with the parent(s)/guardian(s).
Educational neglect diversion services provide families with the needed support to make necessary changes to improve a child's academic success.
When a child's education is impacted by attendance concerns, the school has the discretion to make a referral. In response, a county school attendance social worker will coordinate a meeting involving the parent(s)/guardian(s) and the school.
The goal of this meeting is to create a support plan where the parent(s)/guardian(s) agree to addressing issues affecting their child's school attendance and ensuring regular attendance for the remainder of the school year.
Attendance will be monitored and resources and supports offered for the remainder of the school year.
If students continue to miss school without a valid excuse, Child Protection may be notified for further assessment.
Submit a referral form.
Referrals will be accepted until April 19, 2024.
If the parent(s)/guardian(s) fail to compel their child's school attendance, any or all of the following consequences may happen:
- A child maltreatment report can be made alleging that the child is being educationally neglected. The family will then be the subject of a child protective services investigation. If it is determined that educational neglect has occurred, there could be further legal proceedings. A case file will be maintained for 10 years.
- A Child in Need of Protection or Services Petition (CHIPS) can be filed in court. You will be summoned to appear before a judge regarding the educational neglect concerns.
- The court can place the child under protective supervision of Social Services and the parent(s)/guardian(s) will be required to comply with a case plan to correct the conditions resulting in court action.
- A child can be removed from their parents'/guardians' care/custody and placed outside the home in relative or foster care. Moreover, the parent(s)/guardian(s) are required to pay for the cost of care based on ability to do so, as determined by Washington County.
What is the age of students eligible for the program?
Students between the age of 5 and 11.
What students are not served by this program?
Students 12 years and older.
If an elementary school student is 12 year old, the student is subject to truancy laws rather than educational neglect.
When should a referral form be submitted?
A referral to the Washington County Educational Neglect program can be made when a student has at least 6 unexcused absences.
What happens once a referral is made?
The school will send a letter to the parent informing them a referral was made. The Washington County social worker will schedule a meeting with the school official and will notify the parents of the date and time of the meeting. State law requires that parents be provided at least 5 days’ notice prior to the meeting.
What will happen during the meeting?
It is expected that a school official, Washington County social worker and at least one parent/guardian attend the meeting.
Generally, children do not participate in the diversion meeting, because the parent/guardian is responsible for the child's attendance. Older students may be asked to participate as appropriate.
At the meeting, we'll discuss the student's unexcused absences, including identifying the barriers and challenges for the student/family and find ways to help. We'll also remind the parent about the rules for going to school and the legal consequences if the child keeps missing school. We'll write down an agreement that says the child will go to school, and it might have other things the child needs to do or services they should get.
What occurs after the meeting?
The student's attendance will be monitored for the rest of the school year. The school official will inform the Washington County social worker by email or phone if the student has additional unexcused absences. If attendance continues to be an issue, a referral will be made to child protection for a child maltreatment assessment.