February 2009

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In this issue:  

What's on the legislative agenda?
The legislature is back in session, and the Commission has proposed legislation aimed at improving basic services for children and their families while also reducing unnecessary expenditures and streamlining procedures in these increasingly difficult times.

Commission reacts to governor's budget proposal
The Commission on Children has issued this statement (PDF) on Governor M. Jodi Rell's proposal to eliminate the Commission in the 2009-2011 budget.

A public hearing on the Commission's budget will be held by the legislature's Appropriations Committee on Wednesday, February 18, in Room 2-C of the Legislative Office Building in Hartford. Presentations by agency heads are scheduled to begin at 3:30 p.m., with testimony from the public following at 4 p.m.

More about the Commission:

"Children are not a special-interest population. They are the next adults. They don't have a voice, they don't vote, they're too young, so they don't have anyone representing them up here." -- Commission on Children Executive Director Elaine Zimmerman, as quoted in an Associated Press article

February is Parent Leadership Month in Connecticut
Governor M. Jodi Rell has proclaimed February 2009 Parent Leadership Month in Connecticut, noting that "Connecticut is recognized as the first state in the nation to intentionally create a system of Parent Leadership opportunities for parents to actively exercise their civic and parental responsibilities."

Just the facts: handy data on children's issues
The Commission on Children has fact sheets on an assortment of children's issues, and now you can find them in one place on our website. Topics include: bullying, lead poisoning, obesity, parent engagement, poverty, prevention, and reading. Get them here.

Commission welcomes a new member
Wethersfield attorney Barbara J. Ruhe has been appointed to the Commission by Senate Minority Leader John McKinney. Ms. Ruhe has been in private practice in Connecticut since 1976 and has extensive expertise in family and juvenile law. She regularly works on behalf of children who’ve been physically and emotionally abused.

Commission on Children in the news
Note: Most newspapers make their online articles available for only a short period before charging access fees.

  • Commission Executive Director Elaine Zimmerman appeared on WVIT-TV Channel 30 morning news program on February 2 to discuss the recession's impact on children, in conjunction with an event the Commission held on the topic.

  • Ms. Zimmerman also discussed parent engagement as a guest February 8 on the Hartford-area affiliate of Radio Disney, WDZK-AM 1550.

  • Commission Legislative Director Elizabeth C. Brown has been named to the newly reorganized Youth Committee of the Connecticut Employment and Training Commission, which will also function as the Ad Hoc Youth Policy Council. The Commission is staffed by the Office for Workplace Competitiveness.

  • Ms. Brown has also been appointed to the Families with Service Needs (FWSN) Advisory Board.

  • Commission Director of Policy and Research Analysis Thomas R. Brooks' keynote address on children and poverty at an October 7 meeting of TEAM Inc., an agency that serves impoverished residents in the Naugatuck Valley, was quoted in the Fall 2008 newsletter of the Connecticut Association for Community Action (CAFCA). Download the newsletter in PDF format

  • Commission Special Projects Director Patricia Estill was one of several Connecticut officials who described the state's immunization practices for a February 10 conference call hosted by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It was heard in more than 100 immunization offices across the country. The CDC had invited Connecticut and Washington to make presentations because of their high immunization rates. Ms. Estill presented on the organization of an April 2008 event that honored the state's immunization "champions" -- doctors, nurses, office managers, and others who helped raise immunization rates in Connecticut.

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About the Commission
Created in 1985 by the Connecticut General Assembly, the 25-member Commission on Children brings together the three branches of government--legislative, executive, and judicial--as well as the private sector to promote public policies in the best interests of children. More

The Connecticut Commission on Children
18-20 Trinity Street
Hartford, CT  06106-1591
Phone: (860) 240-0290  
Fax: (860) 240-0248

Commission members: M. Alex Geertsma, M.D., F.A.A.P., Chair; George A. Coleman, Vice Chair; Alison Hilding, Treasurer; Judith Busch, Secretary; James P. Cordier; Representative Andrew M. Fleischmann; Mary K. Fox; Senator Mary Ann Handley; Senator Jonathan Harris; Representative Michael Lawlor; Josh Piteo; Mary Grace Reed; Barbara J. Ruhe; Laura Lee Simon, Chair Emerita; John Yrchik. Ex-officio members: commissioners of children and families, developmental services, public health, education, social services, and correction; the secretary of policy and management; the attorney general; and the chief court administrator. More information

Commission staff:
Elaine Zimmerman, executive director; Elizabeth C. Brown, legislative director; Thomas R. Brooks, director of policy and research analysis; Patricia Estill, special projects director; Dawn Homer-Bouthiette, Parent Leadership Training Institute (PLTI) director; Kevin Flood, public information officer and webmaster; Mary Kate Lowndes, grant writer and accounts manager; Rachel Levy, executive secretary; Edie Luciano, legislative secretary. Contact information

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Newsletter editor: Kevin Flood

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