Illinois - Chronic Absenteeism Early Warning Systems: Programs and Services (S/D)

Programs And Services
Policy Type: 
regulation; statute

State law encourages or requires districts to address truancy or chronic absenteeism through the provision of comprehensive student support services.

Illinois Administrative Code 23-205.20 Purpose

a) This Part establishes the procedure and criteria for approval of applications, submitted by eligible applicants to the State Board of Education, for grants to assist the applicants in establishing truants' alternative and optional education programs as authorized in Section 2-3.66 of the School Code. [105 ILCS 5/2-3.66]

b) Programs funded under this grant shall serve students identified as one of the following:

  • 1) a truant, as defined in Section 26-2a of the School Code [105 ILCS 5/26-2a]; or
  • 2) a chronic or habitual truant, as defined in Section 26-2a of the School Code; or
  • 3) a dropout, as defined in Section 26-2a of the School Code; or
  • 4) a potential dropout, which is any student subject to compulsory attendance as defined in Article 26 of the School Code [105 ILCS 5/Art. 26] and whose school absences or pattern of school attendance impedes the student's learning or contributes to the student's failure to meet State and/or district learning standards. Attendance problems may include chronic truancy, truancy, selective absences, excessive absences or a pattern of absences or tardiness. In assessing whether marginal school attendance problems would place a student within the definition of "potential dropout," consideration shall be given to a student's personal involvement in the education process, apparent motivation to receive an education, or any continued and obvious apathy or disaffection for education, particularly, when indications of uninvolvement, lack of motivation or disaffection are coupled with currently known individual or family circumstances that, if they remain unresolved, would be reasonably expected to result in escalating attendance problems.

Illinois Administrative Code 23-1.290 Absenteeism and Truancy Policies

  • a) Purpose
    This Section establishes guidelines and criteria required by Section 26-13 of the School Code [105 ILCS 5/26-13], which provides that school districts shall adopt absenteeism and truancy policies identifying appropriate supportive services and available resources for truants and chronic truants.
  • b) Content of Policies
    Each school district shall develop an absenteeism and truancy policy including at least the following elements:
    • 1) A definition of a valid cause for absence in accordance with Section 26-2a of the School Code;
    • 2) A description of diagnostic procedures to be used for identifying the causes of unexcused student absenteeism, which shall, at a minimum, include interviews with the student, his or her parents or guardians, and any school officials or other parties who may have information about the reasons for the student's attendance problem; and
    • 3) The identification of supportive services to be made available to truant or chronically truant students. These services shall include, but need not be limited to, parent conferences, student counseling, family counseling, and information about existing community services which are available to truant and chronically truant students and relevant to their needs.

Illinois Compiled Statutes 5-26-18. Chronic absenteeism report and support.

(a) As used in this Section:

  • “Chronic absence” means absences that total 10% or more of school days of the most recent academic school year, including absences with and without valid cause, as defined in Section 26-2a of this Code, and out-of-school suspensions for an enrolled student.
  • “Student” means any enrolled student that is subject to compulsory attendance under Section 26-1 of this Code but does not mean a student for whom a documented homebound or hospital record is on file during the student’s absence from school.

(b) The General Assembly finds that:

  • (1) The early years are a critical period in children’s learning and development. Every child should be counted present every day. Every day of school matters.
  • (2) Being absent too many days from school can make it difficult for students to stay on-track academically and maintain the momentum to graduate from high school in order to be college-or career-ready.
  • (3) Every day of school attendance matters for all students and their families. It is crucial, therefore, that the implications of chronic absence be understood and reviewed regularly.

(c) Beginning July 1, 2018, every school district, charter school, or alternative school or any school receiving public funds shall collect and review its chronic absence data and determine what systems of support and resources are needed to engage chronically absent students and their families to encourage the habit of daily attendance and promote success. The review shall include an analysis of chronic absence data from each attendance center or campus of the school district, charter school, or alternative school or other school receiving public funds.

(d) School districts, charter schools, or alternative schools or any school receiving public funds are encouraged to provide a system of support to students who are at risk of reaching or exceeding chronic absence levels with strategies such as those available through the Illinois Multi-tiered Systems of Support Network. Schools additionally are encouraged to make resources available to families such as those available through the State Board of Education’s Family Engagement Framework to support and engage students and their families to encourage heightened school engagement and improved daily school attendance.

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