December 4, 2008

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In this issue:  
Preventing Childhood Obesity forum draws hundreds

More than 300 state and municipal officials, health-care professionals, educators, advocates, business people, students, and parents came to the Legislative Office Building in Hartford on November 7 to discuss strategies for responding effectively to the childhood obesity epidemic gripping Connecticut and the nation. The forum was was held by the Commission on Children and the state Department of Public Health (DPH), in collaboration with the Connecticut Childhood Obesity Council.

Speaker documents, more photos, and other resources

At left, U.S. Senator Christopher J. Dodd discusses rising childhood obesity rates. Listening is keynote speaker Kelly Brownell, Ph.D., director of the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at Yale University.

Discussing the 'social health' of Connecticut
The Connecticut Commission on Children, the William Caspar Graustein Memorial
Fund, and the Tow Foundation held a forum on the planned Social Health Index of 2008 on Thursday, November 20, with the Index authors giving an overview of their findings and a panel of experts from various fields giving their reactions.

Note: A PDF version of the 2008 Index will be posted soon.

Lead screening changes take effect January 1
Beginning next year, state law will require health care providers to screen children for lead poisoning annually, up to 36 months of age. At the same time
, local health directors will be required to perform property inspections whenever they find that a child’s blood-lead level has reached 15 micrograms per deciliter. Currently, inspections are required for readings of 20 ug//dl or higher. Read the text of the law (PDF) | Lead section of our website
Parent leadership training classes begin in January
The Parent Leadership Training Institute, a family civics initiative of the Commission on Children, provides advocacy training to parents, grandparents, or any other adult concerned with the future of families and children. Since its inception, PLTI has helped more that 1,600 parents across the state make a difference by taking leadership roles in parent-teacher organizations, parental involvement committees, town and city councils, nonprofit boards, and the Connecticut General Assembly.

Classes begin in January 2009 in Danbury, Bridgeport, Greenwich, Meriden, Middletown, Milford, New Haven, Norwalk, Waterbury and Windsor. Applications are being accepted now for a limited number of training slots!

For more information, visit or call the Commission on Children at (860) 240-0085.

PLTI: Helping parents who care become parents who lead.

Upcoming events

  • Task Force on Fatherhood - Meets at 3 p.m. on Monday, December 8, in Room 2-C of the  Legislative Office Building in Hartford. Directions | Task Force home page

    Update! Bill Cosby, entertainer and author of the book Fatherhood, will speak at this meeting.
  • Child Poverty and Prevention Council - Meets from 2 to 4 p.m. on Tuesday, December 23, in Room 2-B of the Legislative Office Building in Hartford. Please note that this is a change from the previously announced meeting date of December 9. The Council will receive a presentation from a consultant, the Urban Institute, on the development of an economic model to determine how the implementation of various policy options would change the number of children living in poverty in Connecticut.  It will also review state agency prevention reports and a draft annual report as well as receive a presentation from Vecinos Unidos.
    Council home page

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

  • Commission Legislative Director Elizabeth C. Brown was quoted in a December 1 article in the Waterbury Republican-American concerning January 1 changes in state law aimed at curbing lead poisoning in children. "We have made progress," she said. "We will see the lead levels continue to go down. This can be eradicated and prevented, so why not prevent it?"
    Article on Republican-American website | Contact us for a PDF copy

  • Commission Director of Policy and Research Analysis Thomas R. Brooks was quoted in the Connecticut Post and the Shelton Weekly after giving a keynote address on children and poverty at an October 7 meeting of TEAM Inc., an agency that serves impoverished residents in the Naugatuck Valley. Brooks said helping families in poverty early on with education, health care, and other services will save communities millions of dollars in the long run. Contact us for PDF copies
  • Commission Director of Policy and Research Analysis Thomas R. Brooks was among those quoted on the causes and possible solutions to childhood obesity in a November 17 article in the News-Times of Danbury. Reports from schools around the state indicate that 25 percent of students consider themselves obese, he said. Contact us for a PDF copy
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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; Laura Lee Simon, Chair Emerita; Leslie Wolfgang; 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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