New law links school attendance to cash assistance

LANSING — Due to new legislation signed into law Thursday, parents whose children don’t attend school could see a drop in their cash assistance benefits if repeated state and school authority interventions fail.

A release from Governor Rick Snyder’s office explains that Public Act 56 codifies existing Department of Health and Human Services practices, which include school attendance as an eligibility factor in cash assistance benefits. Under the measure, the DHHS will have to meet with families to identify barriers that lead to truancy before any benefits are discontinued. Benefits will be reinstated if a student meets 21 days of regular attendance.

The law builds on the Pathways to Potential program, which places caseworkers in schools statewide to identify obstacles to educational success and reduce truancy.