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KDADS to offer youth behavioral education training

Published: Feb. 18, 2021 at 4:12 PM CST
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) -The Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services will provide training to help communities better the education of behaviorally challenged students.

Governor Laura Kelly says the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services will partner with the Paxis Institute to use money from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Disaster Relief Grant Program and Mental Health Block Technical Assistance Grant to offer training programs to help educators provide a nurturing learning environment for children with behavioral issues.

“Ensuring Kansans in communities across the state have access to quality mental and behavioral health services has been a top priority of my administration since day one – but the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the level of stress borne by students, families, and workers in Kansas, making programs like these more important than ever,” Governor Kelly said. “I appreciate KDADS and Paxis for pursuing this innovative partnership and leveraging SAMHSA funding in a way that will give Kansas kids the tools they need to navigate their unique challenges now and into the future.”

According to Gov. Kelly, KDADS’s Behavioral Health Services Commission will oversee the funding and cover two training modules to help children, families and communities. She said the BHS Commission is led by Commissioner Andy Brown.

“KDADS is excited to support Pax Tools and get impactful training to families managing difficult situations and trauma caused by natural disasters in Kansas,” Brown said. “We’re fortunate to have these funds allowing us to include this program in the technical assistance we provide to Kansas communities impacted by those disasters.”

Gov. Kelly said PAX Tools is a collection of evidence-based, trauma-informed strategies that will be used by parents, caregivers and workers in youth homes and other community settings. She said PAX Tools is built on science similar to the PAX Good Behavioral Game, which is a school-based classroom intervention used by teachers to teach self-regulation. She said the training will provide educators with a set of evidence-based strategies to work with minors and gives them the tools that are needed to facilitate PAX Tools Community Workshops in their own communities.

According to Gov. Kelly, Dr. Dennis Embry, Ph.D., a Great Bend native, created the PAX GBG over the past five decades. She said PAX Tools is the sister program of PAX GBG developed more recently. She said both PAX GBG and PAX Tools are built on fundamental units of behavioral change. She said Dr. Embry is president and senior scientist of the PAXIS Institute, co-investigator at the Manitoba Centre for Health Policy and co-investigator at the Center on Prevention and Early Intervention at Johns Hopkins University.

Gov. Kelly said the PAX GBG was first used in Baldwin City in a fourth-grade classroom and is now used in various schools in Baldwin. She said in 2010, SAMSHA funded the implementation of the GBG in 18 other sites and now is widely cited as the single best strategy to prevent and reduce childhood mental health disorders.

“While it was originally invented in Kansas, my colleagues at Johns Hopkins made it more sophisticated, and we then worked to make it scalable in tens of thousands of classrooms all over the world,” Dr. Embry said.

According to the Kansas Governor, the first module, PAX Tools Community Educator Training, is provided by the Disaster Relief grant and Block Grant Technical Assistance. She said PAX Tools is a positive behavioral training that will be used in homes by families, as well as other community settings. She said after completion of the training, participants will be able to hold workshops for their own communities.

Gov. Kelly said the second is the new PAX Tools for School@Home Traning that gives educators a deeper look into PAX Tools strategies to guide parents and caregivers that teach their kids from home because of the COVID-19 pandemic. She said these strategies are meant to help raise a child’s focus, motivation, stamina and improve study habits and outcomes when learning from home.

According to Gov. Kelly, training will be offered to key community stakeholders such as mental health centers, the Kansas Department of Children and Families, Keys for Networking, Kansas Family Advisory Network, Mental Health America, schools, universities, Heart of Kansas and many other community mental health providers that serve children and families.

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