In Youth Service, Inc. Success Stories, we aim to recognize clients who have overcome their hardships to find success through our programming. This month, we are highlighting four stories from our Truancy Intervention & Prevention Service (TIPS) program. TIPS delivers case management service to families residing in the north and northwest areas of Philadelphia who have students who have unexcused absences from school. The program works with families and schools to address concerns and locate resources so that students can improve their school attendance and performance.
1. The Hope family was referred to regional truancy court due to days missed by their son. While the case manager began meeting with the family, she discovered that the barriers to school attendance directly related to changes with the parents. The father was diagnosed with a terminal illness and had to stop working and focus on his health. The mother had limited income from her job, and the family was struggling to meet daily needs. The case manager was able to create a plan with the family and address immediate needs such as rent, utilities and food. With YSI’s support, the family shared that they felt some relief from some stressors; allowing them to concentrate on matters that weighed the household down and strongly contributed to the family’s reason for being truant. The truancy case was dismissed due to no ongoing truancy issues and the support of the case manager. As the case manager I found that shaking hands with the family is not enough, we must whole-heartedly connect with our families and there are no barriers to being human.
2. Meeting the Hill’s was unique. There was Ms. Hill, the children as expected, then there was Grand-mom, Grand-pop, older sister, and close friend!! At first, I was a bit taken back by so many people but quickly realized the concern everyone shared because of the children being in Truancy Court and that I appreciated. Working with Ms. Hill was challenging at times, but it was always fruitful. It was not always during work hours and it would sometimes be a Saturday afternoon, but I always answered her calls. Ms. Hill trusted me, she trusted what I asked her to do, she trusted YSI and she did what was required of her. She did not attempt to look past the obvious, herself, and being responsible for her children’s education. She now understands that attendance is a very big part of that. The Hill’s have since done an excellent job of getting to school every day and on time and we’d like say, “job well done, family”. With the Hill’s, I saw that if they see you care they join with you to solve whatever is before them.
3. Last school year Maisha had more than 10 unexcused absences. The case manager discovered that Maisha was oversleeping which led to her absences. The case manager encouraged Maisha to get a job over the summer to help enforce the importance of responsibilities and being on time. While the case manager was continuing to work with the family, they created a plan that included multiple alarm clocks to make sure that she woke up on time for school. Over the summer and up until the Regional Court date in early October, the case manager continued to work with Maisha and her mother to ensure that she was waking up on time and attending school every day. At her last Regional Court Date, the case was discharged due to Maisha not having any absences.
4. Dan’s mother has multiple sclerosis. Dan would miss school to help his mom when she was ill. The case manager referred the family to the School District’s Re-engagement Center for an accelerated program because Dan had missed so many high school credits. Dan chose to stay at his regular school, Randolph, and is currently taking 3 credit recovery courses in addition to his regular roster. He’s on track to have all of his credits in time to graduate in June. He also works at Shake Shack. Attendance has greatly improved. He attended Randolph’s college fair and is in the process of visiting colleges. This family needed extra supports and found the help of the case manager essential in helping Dan get back on track.
*Names were changed to protect the identities of our clients. For more information on our TIPS program, please visit https://ysiphilly.org/family-based-services/