Several years ago the Kansas Legislature became the first to establish a Family and Children's Trust Fund to address child abuse and other family problems. Seventeen other states have since followed suit.
This state fund, says January H. Scott, executive director, provided the means for the Kansas Committee for Prevention of Child Abuse to develop a pilot program for parents and for their children, who must often look after themselves.
The five-session training curriculum called ''I'm in Charge'' includes a first session for parents alone.
The three following sessions instruct children in safety, emergency responses , and care of younger siblings. The fifth session teaches families how to communicate and how to negotiate rules and procedures.
The pilot program, says Mrs. Scott, was first presented two years ago in four Johnson County, Kan., school districts. It has since been used by schools, community groups, corporations, and military bases in at least 40 states. A 24 -page Parent Guide (available for $1.50 a single copy) was also developed to assist parents.
This spring the Phoenix Mutual Life Insurance Company in Hartford, Conn., became one of several corporations to offer employees the entire package.
Evie Herrmann-Keeling, executive director of Parents Anonymous of Connecticut , a private nonprofit organization, conducted the program.
''There was a tremendous need for this kind of program in the corporate world where there are so many working mothers and fathers,'' she says. ''My purpose in presenting it was to help children feel more comfortable being alone, and to help parents feel more confident of their children's ability to be by themselves.''
Informationabout the ''I'm in Charge'' curriculum and the Parent Guide is available from the Kansas Committee for Prevention of Child Abuse, 435 South Kansas, Topeka, Kan. 66603.m