TOPEKA –According to a recent United States Department of Agriculture report, the average cost of raising a child is $241,080 (over 18 years). The emotional and financial cost of having a family can be difficult for young people, that’s why the Kansas Department for Children and Families (DCF) and the Kansas State Department of Education (KSDE) have teamed up to teach high school students the importance of responsibility. Building Healthy Families in Kansas is now available in 77 Family and Consumer Science classrooms across the state this fall semester. It covers a wide range of topics, including preventing abuse in relationships and providing for the needs of children. Details of the new teaching resource were unveiled during a news conference this afternoon, at Wichita East High School, Wichita.
“This elective course is so important as young people prepare to enter the ‘real world,’” DCF Secretary Phyllis Gilmore said. “Many young people have to learn life lessons the hard way; we want to help them to get on the right path before problems arise.”
Building Healthy Families is loosely modeled after the Texas program known as Parenting and Paternity Awareness (P.A.P.A). The Texas-based program is mandatory and focuses on rights, responsibilities and realities of parenting.
The Kansas program was developed by DCF’s Child Support Services program director and KSDE Family and Consumer Sciences Lead Consultant Gayla Randel. DCF invested $10,000 into the development of the resource. Building Healthy Families was initially piloted in Kansas high schools during the 2013-2014 school year
. Plans are now being developed to expand the resource to middle schools as well.
“We are happy to partner with DCF to implement this project,” Randel said. “We had a successful pilot last spring and look forward to expanding this relationship in the future.”
Building Healthy Families includes 10 units of lessons: Healthy Relationships; Preventing Relationship Violence Personal, Family and Relationship Planning; Marriage; Healthy Parenting; Family Financial Literacy; Parenting as a Team; Kansas Paternity Law (calculating child support); Family Structure and Life Cycle; and Building Healthy Families.