Author Affiliation

Department of Social Work, Minnesota State University, Mankato

Document Type

Policy Advocacy Brief

Publication Date


Issue Statement/Executive Summary

Attending school consistently builds a foundation for academic achievement and social success in the future. Students missing an excessive number of school days throughout childhood for any reason experience increasingly negative outcomes as they grow older. When truancy leads to dropping out of school, this costs individuals money in lost wages associated with reduced education levels. Truancy also costs society as a whole in reduced tax collection, increased crime, and increased need for public services. Research demonstrates that minority students and youth with other risk-factors are more likely to experience school disengagement leading to truancy. Punitive school policies such as out-of-school suspension and expulsion can also lead to a snowball effect of getting behind on schoolwork and missing more school. Several highly effective evidence-based truancy intervention models are outlined in this brief. Early identification and intervention becomes a crucial strategy for effectively reducing absenteeism that in turn increases graduation rates. The State of Minnesota can reduce truancy rates and improve long-tern outcomes for students by adopting an array of strategies, including in-creasing the number of school social workers and other support personnel, funding mental health services in schools, developing state-wide tracking of attendance, and state mandated early truancy intervention.


Social Work



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.