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Criminal Justice News Fall 2014 - Vol. 3, No. 2

CAST middle school truancy intervention: A Robert Wood Johnson Foundation ”culture of health” program

A WSU Spokane Criminal Justice team of faculty, graduate students and staff have been working for the past two years with a collaborative effort bringing together the Spokane Public Schools, the Spokane Regional Health District, and Greater Spokane Incorporated under the auspices of a “culture of health” grant program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF). The project involves taking a very systematic restorative justice approach to truancy by involving community partners in a school-based, assets-based intervention with students heading toward a court filing under the state’s BECCA statute. The intervention is designed as a problem-solving effort on the part of middle school (particularly, 7th and 8th grades) counselors, administrators, and community-based organizations to address a variety of barriers to school attendance uncovered in CAST (Community Attendance Support Team) meetings with students and their parents/guardians. The WSU team of Nicholas Lovrich (emeritus), Paul Strand, and Maureen Erickson were recruited to the CAST team to serve as the evaluation team to document the character of the intervention, assess the fidelity of the process in all six middle school settings, and collect short-term and long-term (until 2020) outcomes from the intervention. The RWJF awarded 250 community health grants two years ago, and the Spokane CAST project recently won designation as among the top six grant projects. The WSU team will be presenting its results at the annual BECCA Conference in Yakima toward the end of October. For information on the project you can contact Joan Poirier at Spokane Public Schools, Alisa May at Greater Spokane Incorporated, or visit the RWJF website.

Washington State University