Operating in Fulton County since 1991, Truancy Intervention Project Georgia (“TIP”) partners trained volunteers with children in the Atlanta and Fulton County Public School Systems who are chronically absent from school and, as a result, either become involved in the juvenile court or are referred for early intervention at the elementary school level. Our flagship program partners volunteer attorneys with children who have been charged with a truancy offense in the Fulton County Juvenile Court. These pro bono attorneys serve not only as legal advocates to the children, but as adult mentors who, often joined by paralegals and others, meets and visits regularly with the child, exploring and addressing the child’s concerns and issues - often the root cause of the truancy.
The lawyer plays an important role as the child’s legal advocate at the truancy hearing and throughout the client-mentor relationship. Aside from assisting with the identification and provision of resources designed to address the root causes of the truancy, the lawyers often troubleshoot and intervene in other legal matters facing the family, such as eviction from the home, delinquent child support payments or securing public assistance benefits. Working with the truant child in all of these endeavors shows them a wider world and helps them gain hope for the future. In addition, because the majority of the children we serve come from low-income, single parent households, families do not have the resources necessary to hire a private attorney. Our volunteers offer our clients a pro bono attorney, who does not bear the normal load of a typical public defender, which we believe is an advantage to the children.
Please visit us at www.truancyproject.org for more information.