As Reports of Child Abuse and Neglect Jump 150%, a Growing Share Are Never Substantiated

In 2019, school staff across Connecticut reported 10,821 cases of abuse or neglect to the Department of Children and Families, compared to just 4,071 reports in 2010.  The more than 150 percent increase comes in the wake of several high-profile cases of abuse and neglect that went unreported by school personnel in the early 2000s, and a 2016 expansion of a law meant to address the problem by penalizing so-called “mandated reporters,” including teachers, for failing to report suspected cases. Asked about the jump in cases, Lyme-Old Lyme Superintendent Ian Neviaser told CT Examiner that a few high-profile firings had

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Lamont to Support Stricter Policies on Juvenile Crime, Advocates Point to Lack of Services

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In the aftermath of the death of a 14-year-old in Waterbury, Gov. Ned Lamont expressed support for stricter policies to address crime, including changes to the juvenile justice system and a greater police presence in municipalities. Commissioner James Rovella of the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection spoke about the teen’s death at a press conference convened by Lamont on Thursday. Rovella said that the youth was brought into St. Mary’s Hospital in Waterbury at approximately 3 a.m. on Monday. The teenager, who was shot, subsequently died from his wounds.  Rovella said there were approximately 100 to 200 youths

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Baby Bonds Bill Passed to Aid Savings for Low-income Families

Connecticut children born into low-income families are poised to receive a government-funded savings account that could provide them with as much as $10,600 by the time they turn 18.  The legislature approved the proposal on Wednesday as part of the general bonding bill, which still needs to be signed by the governor. Under the bill, $50 million will be directed toward providing accounts of $3,200 for about 15,600 children whose mothers are receiving insurance through HUSKY A, the state’s Medicaid program.  State Treasurer Shawn Wooden, who originally proposed the program, called its passage “historic.” “While Connecticut has the highest annual

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House and Senate Overwhelming Approve Equal Parenting for LGBTQ Couples

When couples in Connecticut welcome a child into their family, the process often comes with legal complications and bureaucratic burdens for LGBTQ couples not faced by other couples. That unequal burden is the target of a bill in the legislature that would provide equal access to the security of a legal parent-child relationship, regardless of sexual orientation or marital status.  As the law stands now, an unmarried mother with a male partner can simply fill out a form in the hospital after giving birth to acknowledge the man as the father of their child for the birth certificate. An unmarried

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Staffing a Hurdle as Lamont Proposes Expanded Childcare and Early Education

Expanding access to early education and childcare is a linchpin of Gov. Ned Lamont’s plan to shore up the state economy using federal aid dollars, but advocates on the issue say that a longer-term approach will be needed to address statewide shortages of workers and affordable childcare — problems that predate the pandemic.  Merrill Gay, executive director of the Connecticut Early Childhood Alliance, says he supports a legislative proposal that would provide student loan forgiveness for individuals who have spent four years working in childcare and a tax credit of between $500 and $1,500 for individuals who work in childcare

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Advocates on Domestic Violence Plan for Life after COVID

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The Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence is proposing legislation that would allow victims of domestic violence to apply for a restraining order online even after the current state of emergency to limit the spread of COVID-19 is lifted. Liza Andrews, director of public policy and communications at the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence, said that the organization plans to present the legislation to the Judiciary Committee in January. Advocates for victims of domestic violence say that the ability to file restraining orders online during the pandemic has been a great help to their clients.  Karen Foley O’Connor, executive director at

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Food Assistance to Expand Next Week, Aiding More than 100,000 Connecticut Families

More than 100,000 households in Connecticut will receive additional Emergency Supplemental Nutrition Assistance (SNAP) benefits next Wednesday, according to an announcement from the Connecticut Department of Social Services.  The department will provide $16.9 million in SNAP benefits as authorized by the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act of 2020, legislation signed in March that allowed states more flexibility in providing SNAP benefits. For Connecticut, this means that all households enrolled in SNAP will receive the maximum benefit allowable for their household size, even if they are not normally eligible.   The $16.9 million comes on top of $157.2 million in additional emergency

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Shoreline Food Pantry Opens Food Drive For Thanksgiving

Gatherings this year may be smaller and travel limited, but there’s one Thanksgiving tradition that communities are keeping alive.   Amy Hollis, executive director of Shoreline Soup Kitchens and Pantries, said that she’s been getting requests almost daily from people who want to host Thanksgiving food drives for the nonprofit.  “Every day, it seems like there’s another phone call, another email, another effort,” she said. Hollis said that since the start of the pandemic, Shoreline has been consistently serving 50 percent more people than last year. By the end of October, the nonprofit’s locations in Clinton, Westbrook, Chester, Deep River, Old

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Adoptions Drop By Half as Connecticut Copes with COVID

Adoption days can brighten a month of work, said Judge Bernadette Conway, chief administrative judge for juvenile matters for the State of Connecticut. “We all used to fight over who got to do them because they were so much fun,” she said.  Often the courthouse is filled with balloons as family and friends gather, sharing sweets and excitement about a soon-to-be member of the family.  Such celebrations have been impossible unfortunately since policies were put in place to limit the spread of COVID-19. “The courts had to drastically reduce its work product in March and we have since worked very

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