Colby Eagles Alumni Association
Denny Leak, 1971,
Started the First Certified Parents
as Teachers Program in Kansas
In 1988, I was employed at the Family Support Center , which is a counseling center at Kansas Wesleyan University in Salina , Ks. I was working as a counselor on campus with students and we provided contract-counseling services for abused children in foster care. I wrote a grant proposal through the Kansas Family and Children's Trust Fund to start a pilot program for Parents as Teachers program in Salina to try and do something to help prevent child abuse problems. Parents As Teachers is a primary prevention program which helps provide a support network and educational services to new parents to help them understand the developmental needs and challenges in the fast changing years from birth to age three.
The grant was funded and I started the first Nationally Certified Parents As Teachers program in Kansas . The Ks Child Abuse Prevention Council was very interested in the program and I was invited to present at conferences (Ks Council for Exceptional Children) and I was asked to testify in two sessions of the State Legislature to the Senate Education Committee regarding a proposal to implement Parents as Teachers in Kansas Schools. In 1990, the Legislature approved the Parents As Teachers Bill with $1,000,000 in funding to Ks. schools. Governor Mike Hayden to the Ks Parents As Teachers Advisory Board appointed me. Mrs. Patti Hayden sent me a copy of the actual Bill with original signatures as a "thank you" for the role that I had filled in bringing P.A. T. to Kansas ; she had been a strong supporter of programs for children in her years in Governor's Mansion and worked with the Kansas Child Abuse Prevention Council.
The pilot program in Salina is still in operation and serves around 60 families per year. I think there are two more small PAT programs that have started in Salina under other organizations as well. Parents As Teachers programs are now -available in many communities across Kansas . I tried to call the State Dept. of Education to see how many families have participated so far but have not received a reply as yet. It's been 14 years now that PAT support services have been offered to Kansas families. I played a rather small part in comparison to all the services that are offered now in Kansas , but I'm really pleased to have helped get the ball rolling.
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