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Child Welfare & Attendance

A specialized student support service that combines counseling and legal remedies to resolve complicated or persistent student attendance or behavior problems.

Child welfare and attendance is a specialized student support service that covers compliance with compulsory education laws, student admission and enrollment procedures, student discipline procedures, transfers to alternative programs, and school climate and safety. Child welfare and attendance combines the knowledge and skill of counseling with the knowledge of education and the law to resolve complicated situations involving school choice, student discipline, campus safety, and programs for high-risk youth.

Supervisor of Attendance Duties
California Definition of Chronic Absentee
Chronic Absenteeism Rate Indicator for the California School Dashboard
Resources
Publications
Sample Forms

Supervisor of Attendance Duties

Reducing California’s high chronic absenteeism rates is a priority in the Local Control and Accountability Plan. California Education Code (EC) sections 48240–48246 External link opens in new window or tab. can be a tool for meeting local goals to reduce chronic absenteeism rates. The supervisor of attendance practices helps promote a culture of attendance and improve local systems to accurately track pupil attendance by grade level and pupil subgroup.

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California Definition of Chronic Absentee

A "chronic absentee" has been defined in EC Section 60901(c)(1) External link opens in new window or tab. as "a pupil who is absent on 10 percent or more of the schooldays in the school year when the total number of days a pupil is absent is divided by the total number of days the pupil is enrolled and school was actually taught in the regular day schools of the district, exclusive of Saturdays and Sundays."

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Chronic Absenteeism Rate Indicator for the California School Dashboard

Chronic Absenteeism Rate Indicator
The chronic absenteeism rate indicator, reported on the California School Dashboard, applies to districts and schools with students in kindergarten through grade eight.

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Resources

Attendance Works External link opens in new window or tab.
A national and state initiative that promotes awareness of the important role that school attendance plays in achieving academic success starting with school entry.

California Center for School Climate Past Event Recordings External link opens in new window or tab.
The California Department of Education (CDE) initiative operated by WestEd, provides free trainings on school climate and data use to local educational agencies in California.

California School Dashboard External link opens in new window or tab.
The California School Dashboard provides information about how schools and districts are performing in kindergarten through eighth grade in reducing chronic absenteeism rates for different subgroups of students. Performance is based on the current chronic absenteeism rate and improvement or lack of improvement from the previous school year.

DataQuest
Statewide chronic absenteeism data became available in December 2017, providing new access to absenteeism rates throughout California to both educators and community members. The chronic absenteeism rates for counties, school districts, and schools, as well as for different student subgroups.

How Social Emotional Learning Can Reengage All Students and Reduce Chronic Absence External link opens in new window or tab. (Video; 1:06:26)
Information about social-emotional programs work with attendance programs to re-engage students and reduce chronic absenteeism rates.

Pathways to Engagement Toolkit for COVID 19 Recovery Through Attendance External link opens in new window or tab.
A valuable framework for school teams to engage student groups during unprecedented barriers to student health and school attendance.

Reporting Requirements for Severance of Attendance
Information on EC Section 48203, which requires the superintendent of a school district or the principal of a private school to report the severance of attendance of children with exceptional needs or handicapped children.

Seize the Data Opportunity in California External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF)
This collaborative report by Attendance Works, Children Now, and the University of California, Davis Center for Regional Change is based on the recently released data from the CDE available in DataQuest. The report provides findings and closes with recommendations for key stakeholders.

WhyTry Dropout Prevention Program External link opens in new window or tab.
WhyTry is a social-emotional learning program that specializes in dropout prevention and helps disadvantaged youth develop resilience to stay in school using visuals, art, video, music, and activities.

Youth Perspectives: The Importance of Caring Relationships at School External link opens in new window or tab.
California Center for School Climate’s Youth Advisory Team shares their perspectives on how positive relationships at school have impacted them, how adults can support safe and supportive learning environments, and what adults should know about being a student today.

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Publications

2022 Dashboard Technical Guide: Chronic Absenteeism Indicator (DOCX)
The Calculate Each Student’s Absence Rate Section of the 2022 Dashboard Technical Guide: Chronic Absenteeism Indicator provides information on calculating the chronic absenteeism rate.

Attendance in the Early Grades: Why it Matters for Reading External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF)
A research brief about the impact of attendance in the early grades on reading skills with recommendations for improving attendance.

Present, Engaged, and Accounted For External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF)
Focuses on the critical importance of addressing chronic absence in the early grades.

School Attendance Review Board Handbook and Forms
This web page includes resources to improve school attendance.

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Sample Forms

The California Code of Regulations Title 5, Section 421 External link opens in new window or tab. states that the verification of illness or quarantine shall be made in accordance with any reasonable method which establishes the fact that the pupil was actually ill or under quarantine, if the method has been approved by a school district governing board or a county board of education. For verifying a chronic illness, districts like San Juan Unified School District have adopted a special form to verify the chronic illness. Appreciation is extended to staff members of the San Juan Unified School District who permitted the CDE to use their Chronic Illness Verification Form as an example for statewide use.

San Juan Unified School District's Chronic Illness Verification Form External link opens in new window or tab.
The Chronic Illness Verification Sample Form allows parents to excuse absences due to a specific medical condition with the same authority as a medical professional.

California EC Section 48260.5 External link opens in new window or tab. requires a notice to the parent or guardian upon a pupil's classification as a truant. A pupil is classified as a truant if the pupil is between the ages of six and eighteen and is absent from school without a valid excuse or exemption for more than any 30-minute period on three days in one school year. The Harvard Kennedy School Research Working Paper linked below provides a modification of the standard notification form which uses simplified language and highlights parental influence and the negative incremental effects of missing school to improve the impact of parental communication on school attendance.

Using Behavioral Insights to Improve Truancy Notification: Faculty Research Working Paper Series External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF)
A modified truancy notification that improves student attendance.

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Questions:   Educational Options Office | cwa@cde.ca.gov
Last Reviewed: Tuesday, July 25, 2023