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Sep 20, 2013 1:37 PM by AP

Funds approved for Calcasieu's truancy center

LAKE CHARLES, La. (AP) - Calcasieu Parish Police Jury has approved a contract that provides $189,000 in state funds to continue operations at the parish's Truancy Assessment and Service Center, which is designed to help at-risk students in grades K-5.

Dane Bolin, director of the parish Office of Juvenile Justice Services, tells the American Press the contract between the truancy center and the Louisiana Commission on Law Enforcement provides the funding needed to serve 33 schools throughout the parish.

Bolin says the truancy center investigates student referrals from teachers or principals and interviews the children and their families to find out why a student is not in school.

"We're the only program that's been measured, and the data is performance-based and actually works," he said. "Every report that comes out for Calcasieu shows that once we intervene with the family, the child's truancy rate declines."

Bill Sommers, juvenile justice assistant director, said 340 students were referred to the TASC in 2012. Bolin said the center, which has been operating since 2001, has seen about $50,000 in funding cuts over the last two years.

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