Truancy Court

The Case Review Process

View/print The Case Review Process brochure.

Welcome to Truancy Court. If you have entered a plea of or been found "guilty" of truancy (failure to send a child to school) or if you have entered a plea of or been found "responsible" of truancy (failure to attend school), you are now active in the "case review" portion of the Truancy Court intervention process.

How the Case Review Process Works

A "case review" is a special hearing that usually occurs every 4-5 weeks. It is unique to Truancy Court. It serves the following purposes:

  • It provides a place where the student, Visiting Teacher, family, and Judge can figure out why a child is not attending school and develop a plan to address those obstacles.
  • It is when the Judge will order special conditions for the student and/or family, such as counseling or tutoring.
  • It is when the Judge reviews whether the student/family is following the Court's orders.

What to Expect

While the Truancy Court experience is different for every family, there are some general things all families can expect during the process. They include the following:

  • Over the course of multiple "case reviews," the Court will receive regular attendance reports/ records from the Visiting Teacher representing your school district.
  • Following your arraignment, neither the district nor the Court will accept any parent notes for absences.
  • All absences must be documented on a professional's letterhead in order to be considered "excused."
  • In addition to monitoring attendance, the Court will be working closely with you to identify and address any obstacles to regular attendance and academic achievement.
  • Active participation from all parties (family, school district, Court, community agencies) is necessary to achieve student success.
  • The information you provide the Court will be important to the development of an effective case plan. Some of the information discussed in Court will be of a sensitive nature.
  • Please know the Court takes the confidentiality of your information seriously. Before moving forward with any referral, the Court will obtain your written consent.
  • You were asked to sign an interagency consent form at your first appearance in Court. This consent form allows the exchange of information with your school district and agencies within the Children's Department.
  • NOTE: The only exception to the need for written consent is in the event of a medical or mental health emergency. If the Court determines that a medical emergency exists, we will call 911. If a defendant is threatening to harm himself/herself or someone else, the Court will immediately contact crisis intervention services.

Helpful Information and Tips for Navigating the Truancy Court Process

View/print Helpful Information and Tips for Navigating the Truancy Court Process brochure.

What to Keep in Mind

  • The date, time, and location of your arraignment is on the first page of your summons.
  • Your hearing will be at the Truancy Court in the county in which you are charged:
    • New Castle County: JP Court #20, Wilmington
    • Kent County: JP Court #7, Dover
    • Sussex County: JP Court #4, Seaford
  • If you find mistakes in your child's attendance report, bring any necessary documentation to your hearing, such as notes from doctors or counselors.
  • According to Delaware Law, a student is considered "truant" if he/she has more than 3 unexcused absences during the course of the school year.
  • According to Delaware Law, school districts must file truancy charges after a student has reached 20 unexcused absences.
  • Children under 12 years of age cannot be charged with truancy (failure to attend school). Only a parent can be charged if a child is under 12 years of age.
  • A truancy charge for a child 12 years of age or over is a civil charge.
  • A truancy charge for a parent (failure to send a student to school) is a criminal charge.

Your First Court Appearance

  • Your first appearance in Truancy Court is an arraignment. The truancy charge will be explained, and you will be asked to enter a plea of "guilty" or "not guilty" (for adults) or "responsible" or "not responsible" (for juveniles).
  • If you plead "not guilty" or "not responsible, your case will be scheduled for trial.

After Arraignment/Trial

  • If you enter a plea of "guilty" or "responsible" at arraignment or are found "guilty or "responsible" at trial, your case will enter the "case review" process.
  • The purpose of the "case review" is to identify why a child is not attending school and work with the child and family to solve the problems.
  • Following each "case review," the parent and/or child will be provided with a list of "bond conditions." All defendants are required to comply with all Court-ordered conditions.
  • Bond orders include the date, time, and location of the next "case review."
  • If you achieve "full compliance" with the Court, the original truancy charge will be cleared (expunged) from your record.

Making the Truancy Court Experience Work for You

  • Maintain contact with the Visiting Teacher (VT). Your VT can help you with issues at school and in finding resources for your child.
  • Maintain contact with the Court. Truancy Court is structured to provide a setting where family supports and other resources can be identified and work together.
  • The Truancy Case Manager is available to answer any questions you might have.

Inclement Weather

In the event of inclement/severe weather, please call the Court to confirm the status of your scheduled hearing. Due to case volume, the Court is unable to call defendants individually to notify them when cases have been continued/re-scheduled due to inclement/severe weather.

Contacting Your Truancy Court

Leonard L. Williams Justice Center
500 N. King St.
7th Floor
Wilmington, DE 19801
P: (302) 574-1500

Kent County
JP Court #7
480 Bank Lane
Dover, DE 19904
P: (302) 739-4554

Sussex County
JP Court #4
408 Stein Highway
Seaford, DE 19973
P: (302) 629-5433

For cases transferred to the Family Court, please visit the Family Court Truancy Court web page.