children | Connecticut Public Radio
WNPR

children

Nicole Leonard / Connecticut Public Radio

Hundreds of people packed into the Legislative Office Building in Hartford Wednesday ahead of a public hearing on a bill that would change the state’s childhood vaccinations laws.

Connecticut children can attend public school by either complying with required vaccinations or by obtaining an exemption from vaccination based on religious or medical reasons. A proposed bill would eliminate the religious exemption. 

flu shot
AP Photo/David Goldman, File

A child has died from the flu, state officials announced Thursday, making it the first pediatric fatality in the state this season.

The child was from New Haven County and was between 1 and 4 years old, according to Department of Public Health officials.

U.S. Army

The Lamont administration says working families across the state with low to moderate incomes are beginning to see the impact of a $14 million federal investment in their child care needs. Care 4 Kids, a state and federally funded subsidy program, is using the federal money to increase how much families receive as reimbursement for infant and toddler care.

Gillian Flaccus / AP

At 6:30 a.m. in January on a residential street in West Hartford, it was 18 degrees outside and quiet. Most houses disappeared into the pitch-black darkness, making the lights coming from inside Anna Shusterman’s home especially bright.

“Hey, Max!” Shusterman yelled up the stairs from the kitchen.

Xiaphias / Wikimedia Commons

Spend just a few minutes with young children and you’ll marvel at their imagination. Maybe they’re pretending to be a dragon running a bakery, or they’re coloring the sky purple instead of blue. But somewhere along the way, most of those kids turn into adults who say, “I’m just not a creative person!”

This hour, we ask: how can we foster children’s imaginations? What is creativity, anyway? We talk with psychologists and art teachers to explore what we can do to keep our kids, families, and society inspired by a lifelong curiosity for the arts.

Nicole Leonard / Connecticut Public Radio

On a typical day at East Shore Middle School in Milford, the library is where students spend time using the computers, working on projects and checking out books.

But on a recent Monday morning, about a dozen students sat at tables, each with a virtual reality headset strapped onto their faces and a controller in one hand. Instead of seeing each other, Tino Pavlat and his friends interacted with people at a virtual high school and played Space Cats, a shooter minigame.

Facebook

U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) joined the Connecticut Public Interest Research Group and staff from the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center to announce the 2019 “Trouble in Toyland” report this week. The annual list focuses on toys that pose a danger to children -- things like choking hazards, toxins, toys that are so loud they could damage a child’s hearing and recalled toys still on the market.

This is the 34th annual report. Petra Favorite, a campus organizer for ConnPIRG, says that over the years the report has made children safer.

John Atashian

The nonprofit Judy Dworin Performance Project harnesses the arts to build social awareness, staging performances that draw on issues ranging from incarceration to immigration.

And it has been doing this for 30 years.

This hour, we sit down with Judy Dworin to reflect on this milestone. We also talk with performers and colleagues, and we hear from you, too. How has the Judy Dworin Performance Project touched your life?

Nicole Leonard / Connecticut Public Radio

A large silver tank sits in the front of Cherry Brook Primary School in Canton. In it are gallons of clean, filtered water that pump into the school’s fountains, sinks and water bottle filling stations.

It’s been a fixture on school grounds since Nov. 6 when town officials notified parents that Cherry Brook’s well water could be contaminated with PFAS, a family of man-made chemicals that may be toxic to humans. That contamination is thought to have occurred after firefighting foam was used at the school five years ago.

ronb359 / Creative Commons

A recent report that showed the presence of varying amounts of toxic heavy metals in baby foods has caused Connecticut lawmakers and public health experts to call for better safety standards from federal agencies in order to limit long-term risks to children.

Researchers at Healthy Babies Bright Futures, a national nonprofit alliance, tested 168 baby foods from 61 brands. They found that 95% of tested products contained chemicals and metals like lead, arsenic, mercury and cadmium -- elements that can affect brain development.

Hartford Stage

For many parents, a night on the town might seem like a pipe dream. At the top of the list of reasons for that is – babysitting. Now, if you have a family member nearby who is willing and able to watch the kids, you’re all set. But for the rest of us, finding and affording a capable babysitter may be close to impossible.

Seth Wenig / Associated Press

A child in Fairfield County has contracted measles, public health officials announced Friday.

This is the fourth reported case of measles in Connecticut this year, and the first in a school-aged child, Department of Public Health officials said. This case is not connected to three previous cases in adults reported between January and April.

wsilver / Creative Commons

For some kids, the playground is a place of fun and friendship. For others, it is a source of anxiety and fear. The fear of being left out.

Why do some kids struggle to make friends while others do not? And what can grown ups do to help?

We take an in-depth look with Why Will No One Play With Me? author Caroline Maguire. We also talk about the realities of adult friendships with NPR's Julia Furlan. 

SETH WENIG / Associated Press

New state data show that vaccination rates among some of the youngest schoolchildren in Connecticut fall below federally recommended levels.

The Department of Public Health Monday released school-by-school immunization data from the 2018/2019 year, which showed there were 134 schools where less than 95% percent of kindergartners got vaccinated for measles, mumps and rubella.

Pan American Health Organization / Creative Commons

The state is expected to release new school-by-school vaccination and exemption data Monday after a Hartford Superior Court judge denied a Bristol couple’s attempt to temporarily block the release.

Attorney Cara Pavalock-D’Amato argued in court on behalf of her clients Brian and Kristen Festa that the release of a second report detailing percentages of religious and medical vaccine exemptions at each Connecticut school would continue to cause “irreparable harm” to the Festas, who have a son with a religious exemption.

Nicole Leonard / Connecticut Public Radio


Denise Guillemette sat at a table preparing dozens of flu vaccines that she would eventually give to residents who came to a recent community clinic in Glastonbury.

“Come on down,” she called to the next person in line waiting their turn. “How are you feeling today, good?”

Chion Wolf / Connecticut Public Radio

On January 31, 2018, Kristin and Mike Song's 15-year-old son Ethan Song, accidentally shot and killed himself at his friend's house. They were handling a gun they knew was kept in a bedroom closet. The gun was one of three guns owned by the friend's father. They were in a cardboard box inside a tupperware container that was hidden in a bedroom closet. The guns had locks but the keys and ammunition were in the same box. 

Michele Lamberti / Creative Commons

Guilt. Ah, yes, that awful, anxiety-ridden five-letter word. Most of us have experienced it. All of us have learned to dread it. But is a little guilt really such a bad thing?

This hour, we consider that question and more with a series of guilt (note we did not say “guilty”) experts. We check in with a researcher at the University of Virginia and with a psychologist based in New York. And we want to hear from you, too. 

When was the last time you felt guilty? How did that feeling impact you? 

A majority of parents rarely, if ever, discuss race/ethnicity, gender, class or other categories of social identity with their kids, according to a new, nationally representative survey of more than 6,000 parents conducted by Sesame Workshop and NORC at the University of Chicago.

RYAN CARON KING / Connecticut Public Radio

A Superior Court judge has dismissed a parents’ lawsuit against the Connecticut Department of Public Health over the release of school-level vaccination data.

Brian and Kristen Festa, of Bristol, challenged DPH’s decision to release school-by-school vaccination data in May. The report also included the percentage of kids with religious and medical exemptions at each school.

Nicole Leonard / Connecticut Public Radio

Gov. Ned Lamont and other state leaders promised Monday they would back efforts to eliminate the state’s religious exemption for mandatory childhood vaccinations in order to preserve immunization levels and prevent disease outbreaks.

Kwasi Kyei / Wikimedia Commons

For some single adults and couples, the path to adoption can be winding and difficult. This hour, we take an in-depth look at the realities of open adoption in the U.S.

We also learn about legislative efforts to improve adoptees' access to birth records in Connecticut. And we want to hear from you. Have you adopted, or were you adopted yourself? 

Lynne Sladky / Associated Press

Lucinda Canty is a researcher who focuses on maternal mortality. As part of her Ph.D. program at UConn, she interviewed several women who had severe complications in childbirth.

And while the specific details of their stories varied, they all pointed to a similar conclusion.

“With pregnancy, women are so vulnerable, and then you add labor on top of that, you need someone to be there to advocate and encourage you,” Canty said, “and we have a health care system that, even myself as an educated women, I still feel intimidated by it.”

Oyvind Holmstad / Wikimedia Commons

As Barbie Millicent Roberts -- yes, that's her name -- turns 60 we, as a plastic loving nation, celebrate! For six decades the impossibly proportioned fashion doll has been delighting children and adults around the world.

Nicole Leonard / Connecticut Public Radio

At 8:30 a.m. on a Friday morning in Torrington, a group of counselors in lime green shirts gathered around the flag pole at Camp MOE for a quick game of WAH.

It was the last day of camp for the season — they were waiting for director Katherine Marchand-Beyer to make the morning announcements before children arrive. 

Chion Wolf / Connecticut Public Radio

This hour, we hear about a months-long investigation into allegations of sexual abuse at local Boys & Girls Clubs.

We also learn about reports of a plan to relocate federal detention hearings from Connecticut to Massachusetts. 

And later we ask: How effective are "red-flag" laws at reducing gun violence in the U.S.? 

A phone with social media apps
Ryan Caron King / WNPR

A state lawmaker says a 9-year-old Connecticut girl was recently a target of child exploitation after downloading a popular social media app.

Dans / Wikimedia Commons

Constantin Mutu was four-months-old when he was separated from his father, Vasily. The elder Mutu was arrested while seeking asylum at the southern border. So far, Constantin is the youngest child to be separated from his family.

Gary Graves / Creative Commons

At first glance, it looks like Connecticut is one of the best states for the well-being of children.  

The state is ranked eighth in the country by the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s most recent Kids Count report, which measures how children and families do in education, community and family, health, and economic well-being.

yourgenome / CreativeCommons.org

With the last decade of the twentieth century came the first clinical trials for a biotechnology known as gene therapy. Since then, how far has gene therapy come? And how far has it left to go?

This hour, we consider these and other questions, and we also hear from you. Were you or was someone close to you diagnosed with a genetic disease? What thoughts or questions do you have about gene therapy and its ongoing advancement? 

Pages