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Volunteers for Youth Justice, with the Caddo District Attorney, Caddo Parish School Board and Willis-Knighton Health System and the help of local law enforcement, are teaming up to provide a strengthened effort reduce truancy rates in Caddo Parish.

Opening today, the Truancy Assistance Service Center (TASC) will be provide immediate wrap-around services to students to quickly address issues which may be inhibiting student attendance. The program will work with elementary-aged students and their families and is housed at Caddo Schools’ Welfare and Attendance Center, housed in the former Central Elementary School at 1638 Murphy Street.

Additionally, Caddo Schools will provide TASC with access to district training and resources to identify students who may be exhibiting concerns at an earlier period of intervention.

“It is our pleasure as a district to enter into a partnership which we know will provide essential services to so many of our families,” said Dr. Lamar Goree, Superintendent of Caddo Schools. “I applaud the efforts of VYJ, District Attorney Stewart and all involved in making this vision a reality. We all know the tremendous benefits that can be gained when students are in school and ready to learn, and we believe this is a major step in the right direction.”

In recent years, VYJ has played an essential role in assisting Caddo Schools in curbing behavior problems at an early stage. This partnership strengthens this collaboration between our district and VYJ and expands on these efforts to truly addressing the root issues affecting student performance and attendance.

“Last year, VYJ served nearly 1,500 children in grades K-5 who were identified as being truant,” says Volunteers for Youth Justice Executive Director Kelli Todd. “Our goal is to cut this number in half by intervening with the families early on and providing services that will assist the family in making sure their child is attending school.

“The overall outcome of this project will be to increase attendance which will ultimately improve our local education system while at the same time decreasing juvenile delinquency,” she said.

For more information, call Kelli Todd, executive director of Volunteers for Youth Justice at (318) 425-4413 or email her at kelli.todd@vyjla.org.