School Attendance: Absent Without Justification
A Referral Guide

The information contained on this page provides a guideline for making complete referrals for violations of compulsory school attendance laws.

Referrals should be made concerning a student whose repeated absence from school continues despite documented efforts by school administration to resolve the attendance problem.

All referrals should be reported to the
Child Abuse Hotline

Reporting And Referral

A referral packet must be completed using the NON-ATTENDANCE REFERRAL FORM. (Choose between the fill-out-before-printing (DOC) or print-only (DOC) versions.) Include the requested documentation.

Prior to calling the Hotline, you should at least have the Non-Attendance Referral Form filled out, as it will assist you in answering the questions you will be asked.

Child Abuse Hotline

The Hotline relays the report to the local Children's Division. The Children's Division will contact the school to discuss the report and request the referral packet.

The Children's Division will then assess to determine if the non-attendance is due to educational neglect or truant behavior beyond control of the parent/guardian.

Cases found to be educational neglect will be handled by the Children's Division with possible referral to the Clay County Children's Justice Center for further assistance.

Cases found to be truant behavior beyond the control of the parent/guardian may be referred to the Clay County Children's Justice Center and will include the referral packet they received from the school. If the Hotline advises the information you provided does not meet criteria to accept a report, then send the referral packet to the Clay County Children's Justice Center.

When making a referral, please remember:

  • Suspensions from school will not be considered "absences without justification".
  • Absences that are excused by the parent/guardian may be considered unjustified by the school administration if there is reason to believe the absence is not for legitimate reason. Suspicious excused absences and basis for suspicion should be noted in referral packet.
  • For intervention by the Children's Division or the Children's Justice Center to be effective, there must be an avenue for reinvolvement of the student in the school program.
  • The school official making the referral may be subpoenaed to testify in court. This person will need to be "Keeper of the Records" and bring all records pertaining to the student.

Referral To The Prosecuting Attorney

Referral by the school directly to the Prosecuting Attorney should be made in accordance with district/school policy and as set forth by Missouri Statutes.

The Children's Division or the Clay County Children's Justice Center, upon completion of an investigation, may make a referral to the Prosecuting Attorney when appropriate.

Missouri Revised Statutes - Chapter 167 Compulsory Attendance Law indicates the parent/guardian is clearly responsible for their child's enrollment and attendance in an educational program.


These guidelines are meant to address common questions of school districts relating to referrals for lack of school attendance. Questions that remain unanswered, clarification of policy or concerns related to the handling of individual cases may be directed to:

Clay County Children's Division
7000 Liberty Drive
Liberty, Missouri 64068
Telephone: 816-407-9931

Clay County Children's Justice Center
351 East Kansas Street
Liberty, Missouri 64068
Telephone: 816-736-8400

Guide Provided by
Clay County Children's Division &
Clay County Children's Justice Center