Model Program

Truancy Assessment and Service Centers (TASC)

OSSRD/SSW/LSU
226B Huey P Long Fieldhouse
Baton Rouge, LA 70803
http://www.socialwork.lsu.edu/OSSRD/TASC/

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Contact Information:
Dr. Denese A. Vlosky
Research Associate V
225.578.9314
denese@lsu.edu

Program Specification:

Emphasis:

Gender:

Rating:

Prevention
Intervention

Both

Strong Evidence of Effectiveness

Age/Grade Level:

Target Settings:

Target Groups:

Preschool
Elementary

Rural
Urban
Suburban
Inner City

Individuals

Ethnicity:

Other Participation Criteria:

African-American

Description:

TASC is a research-based, early identification, rapid assessment, and intensive intervention truancy reduction program for at-risk children in grades K to 5, currently in 21 sites state-wide. TASC addresses the underlying causes of the truancy, which can include educational, behavioral, medical, mental health, basic needs, family social support, substance abuse, and problem behaviors identified by the program's assessment instruments for both the child and family. TASC sites provide case management, and occasionally programs. After assessment, children and families are referred to service providers and progress is monitored. Children are referred to tutoring, mentors, parent education, recreational activities and financial, medical and mental health services, among others. Individual sites are monitored and evaluated by the Office of Social Service Research & Development (OSSRD) in the LSU School of Social Work. Site assessments are fostered by an extensive database for case management to improve long term outcomes for Louisiana's public school children.

Program Descriptors Include:
Academic Improvement, Attendance/Truancy

Starting Date: 1999
Students Served Per Year: 500+
Last Verified: 2009

Risk Factors:

Protective Factors:

Program addresses the following:

Individual factors

  • Has a learning disability or emotional disturbance
  • High-risk social behavior
  • Low achievement
  • Retention/overage for grade
  • Poor attendance
  • Low educational expectations
  • Lack of effort
  • Low commitment to school
  • Misbehavior
  • Early aggression

Family factors

  • Low socioeconomic status
  • High family mobility
  • Low education level of parents
  • Low educational expectations
  • Sibling(s) has dropped out
  • Low contact with school
  • Lack of conversations about school

Program promotes the following:

Relationships

  • Presence and involvement of caring, supportive adults
  • Involvement with positive peer activities
  • Perception of support from adults and peers

Program Resources:

Annual Cost:

The annual cost range of the program is over $500,000 or $500 - $1000 per student.

Funding Sources Include:

Program Staff Includes:

Federal Agencies
State Agencies

Teachers
Counselors
Social Workers
Parents
School Administrators

Materials Used:

Supporting / Partner Organizations:

Instructional Texts/Manuals
Computer/Internet Based

Unspecified

Evaluation Information:

Since, 2001, there were 7.7 unexcused absences on average at referral, and 5.2 unexcused absences after referral, equaling a 33% reduction in unexcused absences. For 2006-2008, children missed 10% of school days at referral, and 6% of days after referral, a 40% reduction in the proportion of days missed. Since 2001, 1% of the youth that TASC served were petitioned to juvenile court. For the 2007-2008 school year 11 out of 16 offices improved retention rates, 3 stayed the same, 3 sites had increased rates. The results of a 2006-2007 Regression Discontinuity (RD) design at one inner city site showed that being in TASC significantly reduced unexcused absences after referral at an .05 level, whereas those cases that were closed successfully had reduced unexcused absences at 3 times that rate (and at the .000 level).

How evaluation data was collected:
Outside experimental studies
Data collected and analyzed at school/district level