T.D., a Child v. Commonwealth and D.B., a Child v. Commonwealth of Kentucky; 165 SW3d 480, (Ky.App., 2005)

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T.D., a Child v. Commonwealth and D.B., a Child v.
Commonwealth of Kentucky; 165 SW3d 480, (Ky.App., 2005)
Complaints charging juveniles as habitual truants should have
been dismissed for lack of jurisdiction. KRS 159.140 requires
the director of pupil personnel to perform a home assessment.
KRS 630.060(2) provides that no complaint shall be received
unless an adequate assessment of the child has been performed
pursuant to KRS 159.140.

In two cases consolidated., TD and DB were both charged as habitual truants. The cases were tried separately. TD was charged with missing 13 days of school, and DB with missing 7 days of school.

Mr. Paul Montgomery testified he could not remember whether he had visited TD's home; he had no documentation of home visits; and TD's parents stated he had never visited the home. In DB's case, Mr. Montgomery stated he had not documented home visits, but that he had been to the home many times and the mother had never been there.

Both children were adjudged truant and placed on probation. On appeal TD and DB's main contention is that the court designated worker should not have received the complaints because the Director of Pupil Personnel had not fulfilled the statutory prerequisites. KRS 630.060(2) provides:

No complaint shall be received by the court designated worker alleging habitual truancy unless an adequate assessment of the child has been performed pursuant to KRS 159.140(1)(c)(d)&(f) unless it can be shown that the assessment could not be performed due to the child's failure to participate.

KRS 159.140 requires the Director of Pupil Personnel to acquaint the school with home conditions of the student and visit the homes of students who are absent from school or who are reported to be in need of books, clothing or parent care.

These requirements were not met prior to submission of the complaint to the court designated worker. Thus, the complaint should have been dismissed for lack of jurisdiction due to no home assessment having been conducted.

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