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Policy Manual

CHILD PROTECTIVE HOTLINE
Criteria For Report Acceptance: Special Categories

33-7-7
Educational Neglect

Policy

The Department of Children and Families shall accept reports of the educational neglect of children, as described below.

Definition

Educational neglect occurs when a parent of a child , age seven through fifteen, interferes with the ability of the child to receive proper care and attention educationally.

Proper care and attention educationally is the consistent receipt of a program of educational services provided by a Local Education Agency (LEA) or by an approved private school or through home instruction in accordance with state Department of Education procedures.

Legal References: CONN. GEN. STAT. 46b-120; and 10-184.

A truant is a child enrolled in a grade from kindergarten to eight, inclusive, in a public or private school who has four unexcused absences from school in any one month or ten unexcused absences from school in any school year.

A habitual truant is any such child who has twenty unexcused absences within a school year.

Legal Reference: CONN. GEN. STAT. 10-198a(a).

Criteria for Hotline Acceptance

Note: LEA’s are statutorily mandated to file a Family with Service Needs (FWSN) petition regarding all children who are defined as habitually truant. Such action is discretionary on the part of the LEA for children defined as truant. The filing of a FWSN petition does not preclude DCF from also accepting a report of educational neglect.

Child Protective Hotline shall use the following criteria in determining acceptance of a report of educational neglect:

  • the child’s age
  • A presumption exists that parents or guardians are fully responsible for ensuring school attendance for children age seven (7) through eleven (11). A pattern of unexcused absences shall be accepted as neglect.
  • parental action, including
    • not enrolling the child, age seven (7) through fifteen (15), in school
    • not assuring that the child gets to school
    • keeping the child at home
    • refusing or failing to cooperate with LEA efforts, including in-school, outreach efforts, and referrals, to ensure the child’s attendance
    • refusing to comply with requirements related to home instruction.
Information Required for Acceptance of a Report of Educational Neglect

The LEA must submit a written report, DCF-136, "Report of Suspected Child Abuse/Neglect", to Hotline regarding the child’s unexcused absences, including the following information:

  • identifying information regarding the parents and child
  • specific dates of the non-excused absences
  • documentation of the following:
    • in-school efforts to address the lack of attendance; e.g., meeting with the parents and child, summary reports of discussions and any related material
    • outreach efforts to the family, including home visits, letters, phone calls
    • efforts made to refer the family and child to community services and the LEA’s assessment of the results of such efforts
  • the name and telephone number of the LEA contact person.
Notification to LEA of Report Acceptance or Non-Acceptance

Hotline shall notify the LEA of the acceptance or non-acceptance of any report of educational neglect through use of DCF-2122, "Letter to Mandated Reporters."

When a child is truant and the parent has attempted to make use of the LEA and community services and demonstrates appropriate responsibility, and Hotline does not accept the report as educational neglect, then Hotline shall notify the LEA to file a FWSN petition for truancy.

Connecticut Department of Children and Families                                 Effective Date: October 1, 1996 (Revised)