By WGBH News
July 15, 2011
BOSTON — The Massachusetts Senate unanimously approved a measure Thursday that would overhaul the way the state approaches the families of truant or runaway children.
Currently, when a child is habitually truant, defiant or unruly, the courts usually get involved and the child is assigned to a probation officer. The new proposal steers children toward community-based services instead.
The bill's sponsor, Senator Karen Spilka of Ashland, says the current system isn't working.
“It’s against everything we should be doing. And both research and just knowing families and children, they should be able to access services without having to go to court,” Spilka said.
The bill now heads to the House.