May 5, 2008

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In this issue: 


Connecticut gets a shot in the arm from the CDC

Officials of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) came to Connecticut on Wednesday, April 23, to honor the state for achieving the third-highest childhood immunization coverage rate in the nation. The state, in turn, honored 16 people and organizations from across Connecticut who worked especially hard to ensure the high immunization rate. Read more about the event here.

In the photo at right, Senate President Pro Tempore Donald E. Williams Jr. (left) and House Speaker James
A. Amann accept a plaque from Dr. Melinda Wharton, deputy director of the CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases.


An examination of youth gangs in Connecticut

John Aldi, statewide security risk group coordinator for Department of Correction, led a discussion about youth gangs in Connecticut at the April 8 meeting of the Commission on Children. The DOC's program of identifying gang members in prison and then putting them through highly structured life-skills programs is unique in the country -- and successful, he said.

But Aldi was also blunt in describing the challenges posed by gangs. For instance, he said, children born to gang members imprisoned in the early 1990s are themselves joining gangs.

The discussion, co-sponsored by the Connecticut Association of Boards of Education (CABE), can be viewed on the website of the Connecticut Network (CT-N).

Report praises Connecticut's child poverty law

Connecticut's 2004 enactment of a law to combat child poverty -- along with the subsequent work of the state's Child Poverty and Prevention Council -- are highlighted in a new, national report from the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP) and Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity.

The report, "Seizing the Moment: State Governments and the New Commitment to Reduce Poverty in America," points to Connecticut and 11 other states as the vanguard of a growing state-level effort to reduce poverty.

The report quotes Commission on Children Executive Director Elaine Zimmerman about the Connecticut law, which sets a target of cutting child poverty in half by 2014:  "Zimmerman noted that the target 'really energized us all; it was about accountability that came as a package with a vision.'”

The Child Poverty and Prevention Council has received many recommendations for attacking child poverty. In December, it convened a nonpartisan panel of national experts helped to narrow the list, and currently it is developing an economic model for predicting which of the options would bring about the greatest reduction in child poverty.

Connecticut was "the first state in the nation to enact a law setting a poverty target," according to the report. 

The report calls on the next president of the United States to "build upon" the various states' efforts to reduce poverty and improve economic opportunity. It notes that "[w]hile reducing poverty costs money, sustaining it is very expensive."

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

  • The Connecticut Post published an op-ed article by Commission Chair Emerita Laura Lee Simon on March 30. In the article, headlined "Helping Children: Time Is Now for Assembly to Act," Ms. Simon urged lawmakers to adopt more and better prevention programs for children. "Supporting proven policies and practices that serve our children pays big dividends," she wrote, listing among those dividends a better-educated workforce and, ultimately, less government spending.
  • At the annual meeting of the Connecticut Infant Mental Health Association on April 30, COC Legislative Director Elizabeth C. Brown gave a briefing on the latest draft of a state plan for caring for infants and toddlers, "First Words, First Steps: Connecticut’s Infant-Toddler System Framework."
  • Heather Green, Parent Leadership Training Institute Class of 2001, spoke at a press conference in Hartford on April 30 concerning HUSKY coverage. Read about the news conference at Read more about PLTI here.
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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: James P. Cordier, Chair; George A. Coleman, Vice Chair; Josh Piteo, Treasurer; Mary Grace Reed, Secretary; Laura Lee Simon, Chair Emerita; Judith Busch; Representative Andrew M. Fleischmann; Mary K. Fox; M. Alex Geertsma, M.D., F.A.A.P; Senator Mary Ann Handley; Alison Hilding; Representative Michael Lawlor; Senator Jonathan Harris; 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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