Caring adult involvement in the life of a troubled child can alter their path. TIP Georgia utilizes the following programs to assist the children involved in its organization.
The Early Intervention Program is an initiative designed to identify and counsel chronically absent children at the elementary school level before their pattern of absenteeism escalates to a level requiring court intervention. Children and their families are paired with a trained volunteer to provide resources and support to return the children to regular school attendance. Through this involvement, TIP works to decrease absenteeism and increase school performance thereby alleviating truancy petitions from being filed in the Fulton County Juvenile Court.
For children whose absenteeism has become severe enough as to compel a school to file a truancy petition with the Juvenile Court, TIP employs one of its volunteer attorneys to partner with that child in the role of legal advocate. Attorneys serving as legal counsel on truancy cases are asked to commit one year, or as long as the child remains on Juvenile Court supervision, to provide legal and advocacy services for the child and to be a positive role model for the child. The attorney can expect to commit approximately 25 hours on each case.
The attorney has two major roles:
1. To represent the child as both lawyer and Guardian ad Litem in truancy proceedings.
2. To be a role model and advocate for the child; to assist the family in identifying and utilizing community resources; to advocate for the child in matters related to school attendance.
Recognizing that children and families experiencing the myriad issues that cause truancy need more than consequences to effect change, TIP offers ongoing outreach and incentive programs. Through coordinated programs offered throughout the year and numerous other basic assistance efforts, TIP strives to address the root causes of absenteeism. These programs include:
To alleviate the additional stress caused by the holiday season, TIP holds a gift drive each December for the children and families involved in our program. Each family is asked to make a wish list and TIP staff, probation officers, and volunteers take part in delivering the gifts. TIP also sponsors a holiday party for the children and their families at a local Atlanta attraction.
Since 1996, TIP has hosted an attendance incentive program at the end of each school year to honor children and families who have improved their attendance over the course of the academic year. Children and families are invited to Turner Field for a tour of the stadium, lunch, and a baseball game and are also rewarded for their efforts with numerous prizes such as books, tickets to area museums, amusement parks, and sporting events. Often times, baseball legend Hank Aaron has been the master of ceremonies.
TIP is fortunate to have a large number of volunteers who dedicate their time and talents to improving the lives of Atlanta’s children each year. Since inception, 1,211 attorneys have completed TIP training and have donated over 161,898 hours of their time. These individuals are the key component to the success of the program and have impacted the lives of thousands of Atlanta’s children. To honor their efforts each year, TIP hosts a volunteer appreciation event at a local venue. This event has been instrumental in both retaining current volunteers and recruiting new individuals to donate their time to TIP.