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Child Advocates of Montgomery County Launches Innovative Student Success Program to Combat Truancy

Student Success Advocates with Judge

CONROE, Texas (Feb. 9, 2024) — Child Advocates of Montgomery County proudly introduces its Gaining Opportunities for Achievement and Learning (GOAL) Advocacy Pilot Program alongside the inauguration of its first class of Student Success Advocates. This groundbreaking initiative, the first of its kind in Texas, will address the critical issues of school attendance and academic participation within Montgomery ISD and Willis ISD.

The GOAL Advocacy Program not only aims to reduce truancy rates but also to foster an environment where youth can thrive academically. By connecting families with community resources and providing personalized support, the program endeavors to keep children on track for a successful future. Student Success Advocates, comprised of highly trained community volunteers, are assigned to support and advocate for children facing challenges in maintaining regular school attendance.

With early intervention, the GOAL Advocacy Program aims to address a troubling trend: 1 in 5 high school students are chronically absent from school. Poor attendance can influence whether youth read proficiently by the end of third grade or are held back, a key indicator for future academic success. Absenteeism becomes a marker for student drop out as early as sixth grade. Furthermore, chronically absent youth are 3.5 times more likely to encounter the juvenile justice system.

“The need for intervention is clear,” said Montgomery County Justice of the Peace for Precinct 1, The Honorable Wayne L. Mack. “And I believe Student Success Advocates can play a critical role to empower our community’s young learners to overcome obstacles and achieve their full potential.”

Ann Marie Ronsman, President and CEO of Child Advocates of Montgomery County, emphasized the significance of the program: “Child advocacy in any setting is at the core of what our organization does. Advocates build connections with children, families, teachers, and medical providers. They ensure children and families get the resources they need. The GOAL Advocacy Program provides an additional opportunity to leverage the skills and experience of our volunteers.”

Under the direction of experienced Advocate, Case Supervisor, and Educational Advocacy Coordinator Kristy O’Neal, the program will serve as a vital resource for the court system. Advocates will offer insights and recommendations to Judge Mack, assisting in informed decision-making for the welfare of each child and family.

For more information about the GOAL Advocacy Program and how to become involved with Child Advocates of Montgomery County, visit the website at www.CASASpeaks4Kids.com or call (936) 441-5437.


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