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Date of Award

2006

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Social Work (MSW)

Department

Social Work

Supervisor

Sheila Sammon

Language

English

Abstract

The issue of truancy and early school leaving has been a longstanding social problem. The current high school drop out rate of thirty percent has government officials and educators very concerned about the future of our youth. A prevalent theme in the truancy literature is the impact that poverty has on children and families. but, there are many additional factors that contribute to truancy and understanding them assists in developing strategies and programs to address this problem. Research indicates that one caring adult and/or supportive environment can be a key factor for children overcoming tremendous adversity. Schools can be a place where children find caring adults and supportive environments. This qualitative study examined staff perceptions of the impact of an Attendance Incentive Program developed by an Attendance Counsellor in Southern Ontario. The findings of the study showed that Attendance Incentive Programs can, not only be an effective way to address truancy, but also provide positive outcomes. These included greater academic success, student pride, team building among staff and students and positive connections established between the school community and the business community who support the program. A significant matter in question is the sustainability of this particular program as it depends largely upon the efforts of the Attendance Counsellor. A recommendation for continued growth and development of the program includes the soliciting of parent and community volunteers to become involved and take on some of the numerous responsibilities. Although, the findings cannot be generalized to larger school populations they do reveal positive outcomes. Therefore, attendance incentive programs should be considered as an intervention strategy to address truancy.

McMaster University Library

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