Every year, thousands of Allen County students are skipping school and putting a burden on our juvenile legal system.
Allen County Superior Court Judge Daniel Heath is hoping to change that by teaming up with local school districts to bring in a new program designed to get them back in school and out of the courts.
It's called 'Check and Connect' and it's been implemented in schools all across the country.
Judge Heath says it's actually shown very promising results and he expects it to do that here in Allen County.
"And so we hope to take a bite out of the truancy problem, and also, frankly, a bit out of crime with this program,” Health says.
Out of the 40,000 students of Fort Wayne Community Schools and East Allen County Schools, judge heath says 2000 of them were truant last year.
This fall, those districts are teaming up with the Allen County Juvenile Center implementing 'Check and Connect'- a national mentoring program.
It’s hired four part-time mentors who will work at South Side, Wayne, North Side, and New Haven High Schools.
"Each mentor will have twenty-five students each in their portfolio. And then some of the teachers and some of the administrators will also be taking on one to three students. We hope to impact one-hundred-fifty students as a small pilot program,” Heath says.
Heath says the $75,000 cost is paid for by probation user fees at the juvenile center and a $42,000 grant from the Indiana Department of Education.
"You get kids with diplomas. You get kids out of our jail system and out of our criminal system, and engaged in meaningful jobs,” Health says.
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