Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, NM)

Governor Resurrects Truancy Fight.(Final)

Byline: Mike Gallagher Journal Investigative Reporter

State Plan Lacked Cash, Leadership

Gov. Bill Richardson's truancy initiative has gotten stuck in some bureaucratic mud.

And he has decided to do some heavy lifting to get it out.

For starters, the governor has decided his office will take the lead and find the money to push the initiative statewide.

The agency Richardson had expected to take the lead on truancy, the Children, Youth and Families Department, is now out of the loop, according to one of the governor's top aides.

CYFD had deferred to local prosecutors and school districts on taking a leadership role on truancy. The agency had also put under wraps the veteran juvenile probation officer Richardson had expected to lead the initiative.

The governor this week decided to put the program back on the front burner.

"Part of the federal tax cut means money will be coming to the state for Medicaid and general purposes," said Richardson aide Bill Hume. "The governor decided Wednesday that he will channel $1 million of that into anti-truancy efforts."

Richardson has also decided to reduce CYFD's role. …

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