Refusing to Attend School

How to Apply for Treatment

If you would like to apply for treatment at our center, please download and print out the Child & Family Center application and mail a completed copy to:


William Alanson White Institute
Clinical Services
20 West 74th Street
New York, NY 10023


You may also call our office at (212) 873-7070 for more information.


To protect confidentiality, we ask that you do not fax or email your child’s application to us.  Upon receipt of a completed application you will be contacted as soon as possible (usually within 24-48 hours) by our Director, Susan Rose, Ph.D.

The William Alanson White Institute Clinical Services

Established in 1948


20 West 74th Street, NY, NY 10023

Questions? Please call: (212) 873-7070


Does your child not want to go to school in the morning? Do your children complain about being sick mostly because they don't want to go to school, and then feel better once you let them stay home? Has it progressed to where your child just refuses to go?


School refusal occurs when children go to school only after crying, clinging, or tantrums; or exhibit unusual distress during school days that leads to pleas for future absenteeism; or attend school initially but leave during the course of the school day; or are entirely absent from school.


Truant children don’t attend school for different reasons. They aren’t anxious about school, they don’t stay at home during the day, and they conceal their whereabouts from their parents


School refusal occurs among 2 to 4% of all children, from grade school to high school.  It is as common among boys as girls. School refusal can be acute and brief, or become chronic. Chronic refusal occurs because of a combination of problems at school and home.


School problems:
Your child might have been bullied by other students. Your child might not feel a social connection to children or teachers at the school. Your child could be facing a learning disability that has not been identified, and has started to believe that learning will be impossible.  Your child could have missed some school because of illness and is afraid of never being able to catch up.


Family and personal problems:
Your child could be jealous of a younger sibling or ill sibling who can stay at home.  Your child could be worried that some harm could happen to you or some other relative at home, and wants to stay home to watch out for that person.  Your child could have severe separation anxiety related to stress at home from illness, divorce, or a recent move.


The Child & Family Center’s highly trained child mental health professionals can help. We find out why your child is refusing to go to school. We meet with you, talk with the teachers, and work with your child. Together we make a plan for slowly introducing your child back to school. We include you, your child, and the school. The plan addresses any or all of the problems listed above.


With this plan, we start to lighten the stresses that are scaring your child away from school.


Contact Us Today

The William Alanson White Institute established its award-winning, low-cost treatment center in 1948 to provide affordable psychotherapy and psychoanalysis to members of the community.  Since that time, thousands of individuals and families have been served by our highly skilled clinicians.  Download the Child & Family Center application or call (212) 873-7070 for more information.