Helping children across Kansas

KU provides training, technology to mental health practitioners
KU researchers Kris Matthews and Matt Enyart are training mental health practitioners across Kansas.

Matt Enyart and Kris Matthews recently spent 18 months traveling the state to train mental health professionals in Positive Behavior Support (PBS). Now, the two University of Kansas researchers are delivering a “PBS-to-Go Box” to 21 community mental health centers so practitioners can help children across Kansas.

PBS is an evidence-based practice that changes behavior and the environment where it happens — in this case, the challenging behavior of high-risk, high-needs kids who often end up in psychiatric residential treatment facilities.

“These kids bounce between systems,” Enyart said. “How these systems respond to the children’s behavior differs widely. This project establishes a common intervention and language.”

The PBS-to-Go Box includes reference materials, iPads, laptops, printers and projectors — critical technology for practices such as videotaping a child’s behavior for online collaboration with a PBS professional.

“Our objective is building positive healthy communities,” Matthews said, “and we’ve begun connecting the dots between systems and identifying practitioners who will advance this vision with the resources and practice we’ve provided.

Positive Behavior Support

• Kansas Mental Health Positive Behavior Support (KMHPBS) is a project of the Kansas Institute for Positive Behavior Support at the KU Life Span Institute.

• The project has trained 750 mental health professionals in 94 counties.

• KMHPBS has trained staff at 21 mental health agencies, as well as other psychiatric residential treatment facilities in Kansas.

Matt Enyart is the KMHPBS project coordinator and assistant director of project development and oversight for KIPBS. Kris Matthews is a research assistant for both.

• The project was funded by the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services.

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