S.A.F.E. Truancy Program

Everyday, All year
7am-7pm, prescriptive
1st grade through 12th grade

Students Aimed For Excellence (S.A.F.E) Truancy Program

Mission Statement

The Community Empowerment Association, Inc. (CEA) has developed a truancy intervention program in aspirations of bridging the gap between the social problems that inhibit successful outcomes for the youth in Pittsburgh and academic success. The goals of the program are to develop and enhance educational rigor and academic achievement by increasing student self-esteem, confidence, and leadership skills, while addressing various interpersonal, academic, and social systemic issues such as lack of motivation, poor communication skills, low self-esteem, low academic achievement, poor attendance , and poverty.

The goals of the S.A.F.E program are to: Reduce tardiness, increase and improve school attendance, improve behavior and attitude toward school, increase family/caregiver involvement, reconnect youth to school, family and community, and improve parenting skills.

Major CEA paradigm for truancy prevention/ intervention through their program called Students Aimed for Excellence (S.A.F.E) includes:

  1. provision of comprehensive, flexible, responsive, and preservation focused intervention;
  2. viewing of our young participants in the context of their families;
  3. dealing with families as parts of neighborhoods and communities;
  4. provision of services by components and committed staff members;
  5. and based on mutual trust and respect, building strong relationships with participants, families, and schools.

Program Scope

  • Individual
  • Family
  • School
  • Community


  • 29 students total representing 5 Pittsburgh Public Schools
  • Arsenal Middle School (5 students- 4 male, 1 female)
  • Reinzeinstein Middle School (6 students- 4 male, 2 female)
  • Allderdice High School (8 students- 2 male, 6 female)
  • Peabody High School (5 students- 2 male, 3 female)
  • Westinghouse High School (5 students 4 male, 1 female)

Truancy Program Risk Factors


  • Lack of motivation (i.e., not wanting to wake up for school)
  • No perceived connection between academic success and career outcome
  • Fascination with criminal activity
  • Fear of leaving the home due to gang violence
  • Peer Pressure to engage in activities other thatn school attendance
  • Relationships with the opposite sex
  • Medical difficulties
  • Teenage Pregnancy


  • Role models who are involved in illegal and other detrimental acts
  • Role Reversal/Strain – Children taking on the role of the parent in the household
  • Absence of Boundaries/Rules in the household
  • Family being forced to change residency too often
  • Problems between child and nonbiological father figure in the household
  • Parent involved in drug use
  • Absence of affective parent/school liaison to assist in navigating the school system


  • Child fears for his or her safety in the school environment
  • Bullying by students
  • Child feels unconnected to students in the school and school personnel
  • Underutilized school resources
  • Failure of early intervention strategies (i.e, screening of disabilities and emotional disorders


  • Rise of gang violence in the community
  • Lack of community prevention programming for children to become involved with
  • Exposure to issues related to social problem in route to school (e.g., prostitution, public drug usage)

Protective Factors


  • Desire to graduate
  • Willingness to change behavior
  • Awareness of truancy being problematic
  • Support systems (i.e, family, friends and organizational)


  • Involvement with positive family relationships
  • Grandparents and extended family members
  • Two parent household
  • Spirituality
  • Effective incorporation of boundaries


  • Some connection to peers in school
  • Participation in a n extracurricular school activity
  • Availability of positive role models
  • Availability of meals


  • Involvement CEA programming
  • Neighbors involved in the welfare of the child
  • Faith Based Institutions
  • Community Support Groups

Intervention Strategies


  • Male Mentoring
  • Personal Development
  • Socialization
  • Truancy Prevention
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Gang Prevention
  • Hip-Hop Writing

Prevention Topics

  • Violence and Conflict Resolution
  • Neighborhood Happenings
  • Self-Evaluations
  • Developing and strengthening Relationships
  • Understanding Age-Appropriate Behavior
  • Causes of Truant Behavior
  • The Benefits of the School System
  • Appropriate Behavior for School
  • Investigation of Student Code of Conduct

What makes CEA Different

Focus on Resiliency - An ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change


  • High Inerporsonal Skills
  • Consistent rules, rituals, and traditions
  • Support Network
  • Significant Relationships with Adults


  • Strong Social Skills
  • Understanding Limits and rules
  • Sense of Belonging to a group
  • Significant Relationships with Caregivers

Factors that contribute to building resiliency

  • Increasing self-esteem
  • Teaching the ability to cope
  • Allowing individuals to express their needs
  • Establishing Family Routines
  • Incorporating cultural and ethnic traditions
  • Fostering Group Identity
  • Providing Peer/Support group activities
  • Providing a nurturing environment
  • Modeling Respect

3 Most important factors in building resiliency

  • Establishing Caring Relationships
  • Providing Opportunities for Belonging
  • High Expectations


  • Identify the youth’s assets
  • Identify the family’s assets
  • Role model positive behavior
  • Encourage Learning and Participation in extracurricular activities
  • Encourage the youth to the explore and identify his or her values and beliefs
  • Teach communications skills, problem solving skills, and decision making skills
  • Promote Community Involvement
  • Help the youth to identify goals and find the resources to help achieve those goals
  • Set clear expectations with the youth
  • Encourage and develop a positive sense of self

Last modified on Wednesday, 05 March 2014 23:04