Jesse Lewis Choose Love Foundation

Scarlett Lewis is on a mission. She lost her six-year-old son, Jesse, during the 2012 Newtown school shooting that left 20 children and six educators dead. But somehow, through something barely short of a miracle, she’s been able to use that pain and turn it into something powerful. 

Lewis created the Jesse Lewis Choose Love Foundation to honor the message her son left on the family’s chalkboard the day he died – nurturing healing love. One of the things she’s trying to do is bring social and emotional learning into public schools.

Raymond Brown/flickr creative commons

The Branford, Connecticut-based charity Read to Grow celebrates its 15th anniversary this month with a dinner event on Saturday, April 25.

A Connecticut man whose young son died after he left him inside a car on a hot day last summer has been spared prison time.

Melissa/flickr creative commons

It might seem like a control issue when your child starts hating certain foods and loving sugar, but new research is showing their preferences are linked to genes and body size.

Flickr The Commons

Thousands of low-income adults and children have gained access to dental services in recent years as the number of dentists accepting Medicaid and HUSKY patients has soared, according to state data.

Diane Orson / WNPR

At least two groups are urging the Connecticut General Assembly to protect services that improve parent engagement and that help municipalities plan for early childhood education. 

Eden, Janine and Jim / Creative Commons

Sixty years ago, patients rarely questioned the authority of their doctors. Like the doctors portrayed on television, these older, wiser, and usually white male doctors would dispense sage advice to trusting parents desperate to make their children well in an age of polio and measles.

Odane Campbell / CPBN Learning Lab JMA Satellite Campus

Join us for a discussion about what works in elementary education and how to make it better. WNPR's John Dankosky led a conversation with a panel of teachers. 

Vox Efx / Creative Commons

A bill that would impose a tax on sugary soft drinks has passed a legislative hurdle.

The measure would assess a one-cent-per-ounce tax on carbonated soft drinks that contain a caloric sweetener. Proceeds from the tax would fund public education and outreach programs on obesity, heart disease, and diabetes.

camknows / Creative Commons

A state education report says suspensions of children younger than seven from Connecticut's public schools jumped nearly ten percent last year.

The report, presented to the state Board of Education, says 1,217 children younger than seven were suspended, up from 1,110 in 2013. 

Middletown Police Department

 A teenage girl in the custody of the state Department of Children and Families has been missing since the weekend.

DCF and the Middletown Police Department are asking the public for help in finding Jackie Stec. Stec is a white, 15-year-old girl with long, straight black hair. She's 5'4'' tall and weighs 110 pounds.

Child Health and Development Institute of Connecticut

The Child Health and Development Institute of Connecticut released a report that examines how the state can strengthen the skills of professionals who work with infants and toddlers. / Creative Commons

Governor Dannel Malloy has proposed mandating full-day kindergarten across the state. While this plan would likely be favorable to many parents, it has the head of the state's superintendents' association concerned about how it will be funded.

Joe Cirasuolo, executive director of the Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents, said Malloy's proposal to have full-day kindergarten by 2017 is "a major unfunded mandate."

Parents have made news recently after being detained for purposefully leaving children on their own, prompting renewed debate about so-called "free-range parenting."

That includes Danielle and Alexander Meitiv, a Silver Spring, Md., couple who are being investigated after they let their children, ages 10 and 6, walk home from a park last month by themselves.

When Sara Martín's children were infants, she made sure they got all the recommended immunizations.

"And then somewhere when they became toddlers I started to fall a little behind on the vaccinations," she says. "Not intentionally — just, that's kind of how it happened for me."

Martín is 29 years old and a single mother of two. She says it was a huge chore to travel from her home in East Los Angeles to a community clinic downtown.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Do you know anyone who’s ever had measles, mumps, or rubella? Those diseases have essentially been wiped out in the U.S. because of effective and widespread adoption of vaccines. 

But that might be changing. Dr. Thomas Frieden, Director for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said that last year, there were more than 600 measles cases in the U.S., and that was more than there have been for a long time. "This year, there were 100 in January alone," he said.

Starting Wednesday, legal advocates will be driving around Hartford to connect with homeless youth. The Center for Children's Advocacy has purchased a van to create a mobile legal aid office.

Daniel Case / Creative Commons

Starting next fall, the Waterbury school district will recognize two Muslim holidays.

Often, when Eid Al-Fitr or Eid Al-Adha falls on a school day in the United States, Muslim families have to make a choice. "A lot of kids have to make the choice between religion and going to school on that day," said Amr Abu-al-rub, an imam at the United Muslim Mosque in Waterbury. "It's a tough choice to make, especially for kids."

It's a choice made tougher if a field trip, classroom party, or major test is scheduled on the holiday.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

The Connecticut General Assembly's Children's Committee held a public hearing on Thursday to hear testimony on a dozen bills.

Almost half were proposed by Republican Senate Minority Leader Len Fasano, a vocal critic of the state Department of Children and Families. His bills call for several reforms of DCF. 

Paul Goyette / Creative Commons

There were 124 child fatalities in Connecticut between 2005 and 2014.  The state Department of Children and Families studied the cases and is now implementing a new strategy to identify and support at-risk families. 

DCF's study found that the most common cause of death was from Sudden Infant Death syndrome, or SIDS.

Susan Smith, DCF's Chief of Quality and Planning, said 34 percent of the child fatalities were attributed to SIDS when combined with unsafe sleep.

Puzzles: The Joy of Being Perplexed

Jan 27, 2015
Lablanco / Flickr Creative Commons

People have been puzzled since the beginning. And while that might sound like a problem, it may in fact be our preferred state of being. Since the first fires needed to be lit with tinder too damp to kindle, we've been problem solving. When one problem was solved, another was found. And when seemingly, we could no longer find enough problems to satiate our appetites, we created puzzles: problems in a box; food for our minds.


A group of West Hartford residents is working to renovate Jonathan's Dream, a public playground for children of all abilities. Recent funding makes it possible for them to bring a set of unusual basketball hoops to the playground, called Bankshot, aimed at all ages and abilities.

Dwayne Bent/flickr creative commons

Connecticut Voices for Children has launched a campaign to create a book by children writing about their experiences with the Connecticut Department of Children and Families.

Addressing potential contributors in a flyer, Connecticut Voices for Children says, "The book will be shared with the public, advocates, and government officials to help them better understand your experiences and create better laws based on your suggestions." Children who wish to can remain anonymous.

Asthma affects children regardless of where they live and whether they are rich or poor. But scientists have long thought that living in poor urban neighborhoods adds an extra risk for this troublesome lung inflammation. A new study suggests that's not necessarily the case.

Asthma is often triggered by something in the environment, so in the 1960s, scientists started looking for places where asthma was especially bad.

Starting today, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children will begin sending out Amber Alerts on Facebook's news feed. The alerts will include a photograph of the missing child and the location where the possible abduction took place.

Facebook has 185 million users in the U.S., and the notices will be tailored to location — so users will receive alerts about missing children in their area.

Connecticut Science Center

Will a hands-on energy efficiency exhibit aimed at children help them to think about their carbon footprint? 

Kathleen Schassler

Candid online posts describing the challenges of breastfeeding fill the Facebook page of Breastfeeding USA’s Connecticut chapter. The daily stream of anecdotes, questions and comments alternate in tone from exasperated to celebratory.

This Christmas Eve people all over the world will log on to the official Santa Tracker to follow his progress through U.S. military radar. This all started in 1955, with a misprint in a Colorado Springs newspaper and a call to Col. Harry Shoup's secret hotline at the Continental Air Defense Command, now known as NORAD.

Shoup's children, Terri Van Keuren, 65, Rick Shoup, 59, and Pam Farrell, 70, recently visited StoryCorps to talk about how the tradition began.

Chion Wolf

The population of English Language Learners in Connecticut has increased by nearly 50 percent in the past ten years. Unfortunately, support for these students hasn’t kept up. Despite this steady increase in a learning population, the number of certified, bilingual teachers has been in a steady decline.

Ten to 20 percent of new mothers will experience a mental health issue. A new study indicates that one way to help them is by leaning on pediatricians.