Governor Laura Kelly today announced that the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services (KDADS) is partnering with Paxis Institute to utilize funds from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Disaster Relief Grant Program and the Mental Health Block Technical Assistance Grant to offer training programs that will assist educators in providing 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.”
KDADS’s Behavioral Health Services (BHS) Commission oversees the funding, which will cover two training modules to support children, families and communities. 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.”
PAX Tools is a collection of evidence-based, trauma-informed strategies to be used by parents, caregivers, and youth-serving workers in homes and other community settings. PAX Tools is built on similar science as the PAX Good Behavior Game (GBG), a school-based classroom intervention used by teachers to teach self-regulation. This training provides community educators with a set of evidence-based strategies for working with youth and equips them with the knowledge and skills needed to facilitate a PAX Tools Community Workshop in their own community (working with families, daycares, after-school settings, social workers, juvenile justice staff, etc.).
Dr. Dennis Embry, Ph.D., a Kansas native from Great Bend, created the Pax GBG over the past 50 years. Pax Tools is the sister program of PAX GBG developed in more recent years. Both PAX GBG and PAX Tools are built on fundamental units of behavioral change. Dr. Embry is president and senior scientist of 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.
The PAX GBG was first used in Baldwin City, Kansas, in one 4th grade classroom and is now used in multiple schools in Baldwin. In 2010, SAMSHA funded the implementation of the GBG in 18 sites and today is widely cited as the single best strategy for preventing and reducing 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.
The first module, Pax Tools Community Educator Training, is being provided by the Disaster Relief grant ($107,478 for 67 training seats) and Block Grant Technical Assistance ($40,000 for 30 training seats). Pax Tools is a positive behavioral training that is to be used in homes by families, as well as in other community settings where caring adults are working with youth. After completion of this training, participants will be able to hold workshops in their own communities, sharing PAX Tools with families that would like to take a different approach to parenting.
The second is the new PAX Tools for School@Home Training that provides community educators with a deeper look into PAX Tools strategies to guide parents and caregivers who are facilitating school at home in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. These strategies are designed to help increase a child’s focus, motivation, stamina, and improve study habits and outcomes when learning at home.
Training is being offered to key community stakeholders like community mental health centers (CMHCs), 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 their families.
For more information or to enroll for training, contact Austin.Hendrickson@ks.gov.
The 70 counties served through the Disaster Relief Fund include: Allen, Anderson, Atchison, Barber, Barton, Bourbon, Brown, Butler, Chase, Chatauqua, Cherokee, Clark, Clay, Cloud, Coffey, Comanche, Cowley, Crawford, Dickinson, Doniphan, Douglas, Edwards, Elk, Ellsworth, Ford, Franklin, Geary, Gray, Greenwood, Harper, Harvey, Hodgeman, Jefferson, Kingman, Leavenworth, Lincoln, Linn, Lyon, Marion, Marshall, McPherson, Meade, Miami, Montgomery, Morris, Nemaha, Neosho, Ness, Osage, Osborne, Ottawa, Pawnee, Phillips, Pottawatomie, Pratt, Reno, Rice, Riley, Rush, Russell, Saline, Smith, Stafford, Sumner, Wabaunsee, Wallace, Washington, Wilson, Woodson and Wyandotte.
About Paxis Institute
Located in Arizona and founded in June 1998, PAXIS Institute identifies and connects the best science and wisdom to maximize the peace, productivity, health, and happiness of individuals, families, organizations, and communities everywhere. PAXIS institute seeks to identify tools and strategies that have both rapid and long-term benefits for all our futures, not just the few or one group over another.