Michigan policy tying truancy to cash assistance is signed into law by Snyder

Associated Press

A Michigan policy that ties cash assistance for families to school attendance was signed into law Thursday by Republican Gov. Rick Snyder.

"To break the cycle of poverty, kids need an education to position them for future success. We have to do everything we can to see that they are regularly attending school," Snyder said in a statement.

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Under the policy, a family loses eligibility for cash assistance if a child ages 6 through 15 doesn't meet attendance requirements. Children 16 or older who are dependents and haven't graduated from high school will lose their aid if they don't meet attendance requirements.

Cash assistance would be restored if a student attends school for 21 consecutive days.

The law matches a policy that's been enforced since 2012 by the Department of Health and Human Services.

Department staff will have to meet with a family to identify barriers that prevent children from attending school before benefits could be discontinued.

Snyder's office said the law builds on the Pathways to Potential program, which puts caseworkers in schools to help reduce truancy.

The bill's sponsor, Republican Rep. Al Pscholka, said in a statement that children need to be in school "to break the generational cycle of poverty."

"Children have real opportunities, as long as they commit themselves to education," he said. "This law incentivizes families to invest in their children's future."