The Wayne Mediation Center (WMC), with support from United Way of Southeast Michigan, the Hudson Webber Foundation, and the Wayne County Department of Children and Family Services, provides truancy prevention mediation for schools throughout Wayne County. Students whose families have attended mediation have experienced a 63% increase in attendance since the inception of the program in Spring 2007.
Beyond the obvious problems inherent in excessive absenteeism - missing out on crucial education and learning - there is a grim predictive relationship that exists between truancy and eventual deviant behavior in youth. This presents a critical window of opportunity; with the assistance of a trained mediator, adults with authority over the student (educators, counselors, parents, law enforcement, and others) can work together in a collaborative setting to assist the student in making progress toward reducing truant behaviors and avoiding court intervention.
In addition, WMC is working with the 3rd Circuit Court to mediate truancy ordinance tickets at the court as a diversion to further court involvement. WMC partners with social service agencies in situations where the barriers to school attendance are beyond the ability of the family to resolve without additional resources. Because truancy is a complex problem requiring a comprehensive response, educators, law enforcement agencies, courts, communities, social service agencies, and families all play a part in truancy prevention and become collaborative partners in the mediation setting.