Rebekkah Brewer, Program Manager
The Start Right Program, under the direction and administration of Judge Nick Kuntz, is designed to facilitate and monitor all cases referred to the Court for Parental Failure to Send and the more serious Contributing to Educational Neglect. Parental Failure to Send cases arise out of excessive absenteeism of children in grades, kindergarten through fourth grade. In addition, parents who fail to enroll a child in school, regardless of the grade, are now getting charged with Contributing. Start Right staff prepare these cases for court and complete follow-up work which may include home or school visits to ensure a positive 33 change. Parents are plugged into community programming to help solve the problems these families are facing.
Out of the 340 cases received in 2008, the Start Right Program served 759 children. The Start Right Program closed 330 cases, of which 83% were closed successfully. (A case is closed successfully when the student has shown improvement in his or her attendance.) Over 100 referrals were made to community agencies for assistance. The Start Right Program is committed to connecting families to service providers who can help parents deal with the issues that are affecting their ability to send their children to school. In addition to community referrals, the Education Advocates also complete several home and school visits every month to ensure communication is taking place with the families and school personnel.