families

Jake Warga

Specialist Lackey carries with him the remains of his father in a small urn around his neck. 

The commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families has resigned following the deaths of three children on her watch.  Child welfare advocates say the focus now needs to shift to fixing problems at the state agency and preventing child abuse.

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, who had previously rejected DCF Commissioner Olga Roche’s resignation offers, said Tuesday he had reluctantly agreed to accept it now, believing the troubled child welfare agency can’t move forward with her at the helm.

Jeff Cohen / WNPR

How do you tell the difference between someone who needs to be taken to jail and someone who needs to be taken to the hospital? That’s a big concern in Connecticut, where the intersection of law enforcement and mental health has been a huge issue since the Newtown shootings of 2012. 

WNPR spent time with police officers to learn about their training in mental health.

Later this month is the 118th running of the Boston Marathon, and this year’s race is especially significant because it’s the first time it’s being run since last year’s bombing at the finish line. Because of that attack, two people will be taking part in this year’s Boston Marathon who hadn’t intended to be there: Dick and Rick Hoyt.

Sizing Up Your Children Is A Tricky Business

Apr 7, 2014

When I had a second baby earlier this year, my three-year-old suddenly seemed enormous. "Check out the size of those feet!" I marveled. She seemed so heavy, so tall, so substantial.

She even seemed more capable, more robust. Images of airborne cookware and toppling bookshelves faded. The staircase didn't seem quite so treacherous. Instead, I trusted in her basic competence to scale the kitchen stools without incident and to keep (most) sharp-and-pointy things beyond the envelope of her person.

It wasn't just me: my husband reported the same experience.

Chion Wolf/WNPR

There's growing tension in Connecticut between parents and guardian ad litem lawyers or GALs, who are appointed to represent minor children in child custody cases.

AndreyPopov/iStock / Thinkstock

Earlier this month, The Connecticut Law Tribune reported that a number of the state’s guardian ad litem lawyers had withdrawn from their child custody cases. Their actions came in response to growing tension within the family courts, where parents and advocates have criticized the system -- and the lawyers in it -- for high fees and lack of oversight.

JuJu Harris didn't set out to write a cookbook, but then again, she didn't set out to accept public assistance to feed her son, either. Harris always wanted to work with nature.

"My dream job was, I was going to grow up and be a national park ranger," she says. It didn't quite work out that way. She drifted from job to job in Oakland, Calif., where she was born. At 32, she joined the Peace Corps, traveling to Paraguay to help local farmers improve their crops.

How Not To Name Your Baby

Mar 6, 2014

Six weeks ago today, I gave birth to a baby girl. Like her older sister, she spent the first few days of life without a name.

You see, my husband and I wanted to get our children's names just right, and that meant taking some time to consider the options and get a feel for how well they fit each new baby. But we also happen to be cognitive scientists of an evidence-based persuasion so, for us, it also meant gathering and analyzing some data.

Flickr Creative Commons / Katelyn Kenderdine

A proposal that went before the Public Health Committee could allow adopted children access to their birth certificate if they are age 21 or older.

Parents do a lot more than make sure a child has food and shelter, researchers say. They play a critical role in brain development.

I Love Lucy was one of the most popular shows in the history of television. Its stars, redheaded Lucille Ball and her Cuban-American husband Desi Arnaz, became TV icons — but they almost didn't get on TV.

Kathleen Brady is the author of Lucille: The Life of Lucille Ball. She says the network that wanted Ball to star in her own sitcom was not interested in her husband.

The comedian and movie director Woody Allen responded vigorously late Friday to allegations that he had sexually abused his daughter more than two decades ago.

The story of why Allen chose to address these once-dormant allegations again involves celebrity, trauma and a battle newly joined in the press and on social media.

CT-N

A state task force is recommending reforms to child custody cases in state courts, including capping court-appointed child guardians' fees that many parents say are wiping out their finances. The task force met in Hartford today to finalize recommendations it plans to submit to state lawmakers on Friday. 

Chion Wolf / WNPR

I spent one night in the company of James Carville and Mary Matalin, in the course of being their onstage moderator at the Bushnell. My lasting impression was that these were two people whose primary loyalty was to each other. To an unusual degree, when there was down time, they wanted to be alone, together, door closed. I don't know how they sort out their extreme political differences, but I think the answer lies somewhere in what I just said.

CT-N

Connecticut Voices for Children held a forum on Thursday called, "Raising the Grade: Improving Educational Opportunities for Youth in State Care." State lawmakers, child advocates, and community leaders gathered at the capitol to hear sometimes emotional testimony from members of the DCF Youth advisory panel, teenagers who have been in the care of the state for most of their lives.

Ray Hardman / WNPR

The state of Connecticut will begin developing a plan to meet the behavioral health needs of all the children in the state. The plan is required under legislation passed last year by the General Assembly in response to the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

NPR continues a series of conversations about The Race Card Project, where thousands of people have submitted their thoughts on race and cultural identity in six words. Every so often, NPR Host/Special Correspondent Michele Norris will dip into those six-word stories to explore issues surrounding race and cultural identity for Morning Edition.

"Attorney General Eric Holder announced Friday that the federal government will recognize the 900-plus same-sex marriages that took place in Utah during the two weeks when such unions were legal," NPR's Nina Totenberg writes for us.

That means those couples "will be eligible for all federal benefits," NPR's Carrie Johnson adds.

In a statement, Holder says that:

John Walker / Flickr Creative Commons

The transition from high school to college is tough for anyone. But if you’re the first in your family to go to school, you’re a trailblazer and have a whole other set of challenges. From knowledge of the college application process, to financial aid, to campus life, there are more hurdles to get past when you’re the first to go through it.

On this episode of Where We Live we’re joined by a panel of first-generation college students, both past and present to share their stories. Are you a first-generation college student? We want to hear your story!

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Identical twins are just like us - and then they're not! From Ann Landers and Dear Abbey, from the Castro brothers, one of whom might be our first identical twin president one day, carbon-copy twins live lives that the rest of us cannot fathom.

In the early 1990s, a team of researchers decided to follow about 40 volunteer families — some poor, some middle class, some rich — during the first three years of their new children's lives. Every month, the researchers recorded an hour of sound from the families' homes. Later in the lab, the team listened back and painstakingly tallied up the total number of words spoken in each household.

What they found came to be known as the "word gap."

mangostock/iStock / Thinkstock

Foodshare distributes food to the Greater Hartford Region by partnering with local food pantries, soup kitchens, and emergency shelters. This week, its mobile truck has been delivering a product that's not usually available to families in need.

Concha García Hernández / Creative Commons

On average, there are 15 intimate partner homicides each year in Connecticut. That's just one statistic from the state domestic violence fatality review report, but another stat has startled prevention advocates into action.

With the approval of the Statehouse, same-sex marriages are one step away from being legal in Illinois.

The Chicago Tribune reports the bill received 61 votes, just one more than necessary to send the bill to the Senate, which is expected to pass it.

The House was the bill's biggest hurdle because Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn has said he would sign the bill into law.

The Tribune adds:

Addison Berry/flickr creative commons

From Faith Middleton: Great for Thanksgiving and eight other months of the year—Corn Bread Stuffing Muffins baked in a muffin tin. How about passing that around at your holiday table? I found this recipe in the November issue of Cooking Light magazine, and had to give it a whirl.

Call it a linguistic identity crisis.

Growing up in Westchester, N.Y., 25-year-old Danielle Alvarez says, she and her two siblings didn't have much need for Spanish. With few other Hispanic families around, she got by with the few phrases she had picked up from her Mexican-born father: good night, put a coat on, be careful.

Kristin Wall/flickr creative commons

by Faith Middleton

This simple, flavorful spice rub is one of my favorites, and will transform your roast turkey as it cooks sitting atop a bed of fresh rosemary sprigs. The best part is that you can make the rub ahead, then freeze it or store it for when you need it.

Mackenzie Kreitler / Verizon Wireless

The Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence received a grant form the Verizon Foundation Friday that will train Health Care providers to become effective domestic violence screeners.

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