Why keep a ‘promise’ that hurts birth mothers?

One of the most persistent myths surrounding adoption is that birth mothers like me were “promised” privacy to hide the shame of having had sex (and getting caught at it). Single pregnant women like me had few viable options, and did not consider the relinquishment of our child an exchange for the promise of privacy. Senate Bill 977 extends an existing 2014 law to pre-1983 adult adoptees to restore the right to an original birth certificate to all Connecticut adoptees. Let’s keep it in the family, between those personally affected, where it belongs.

Fair housing rule needs to be used everywhere, not weakened

Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule and fair housing policy are lifelines to low income families and people of color who have been crowded into low opportunity neighborhoods in cities like Hartford. AFFH is under attack from both the Trump administration and Congress. Dr. Ben Carson, the current Secretary of HUD, has gone on the record against AFFH, stating that it relies on a “tortured reading of the Fair Housing laws” to effect change. AFFH. We need HUD and the federal government to use these rules, not repeal them.

Legislators must approve family medical leave bill

This past January, Connecticut lawmakers introduced two paid family and medical leave bills: Senate Bill No. 1 and House Bill No. 6212: An Act Concerning Earned Family and Medical Leave. The legislation passed through the Labor Committee successfully in March, but since then supporters of paid family leave have anxiously awaited further action from the Assembly. With less than a month to go before Connecticut legislators adjourn for the summer, Connecticut citizens need to demand that our representatives take action on these bills and pass paid family and medical leave in Connecticut.

Financial storms might to blow the roof off CT’s housing program

We in Connecticut — the agencies that create the homes and provide the support services for homeless veterans, young people and families; the government officials and philanthropies who fund and coordinate the massive effort — are national leaders. The structure we have built over more than a decade is producing outcomes, saving lives and public dollars at the same time. So what’s the problem? The fiscal storms blowing out of Washington and Hartford now threaten to blow the roof off of that system.

Give her and other Connecticut adoptees back their identities

My birth certificate is a legal lie.

What’s true on it is that I was born at 4:44 a.m. Oct. 27, 1967. It’s also true I was born in Norwalk Hospital. And I’m guessing that Eric G. Norrington, MD, who’s listed as the attending physician, really was there.

What’s not true are the names typed in all caps under “Full Name of the Child’s Mother and Father.”

Partnership key to building stronger career pathways for CT residents

Connecticut’s legislature has proposed to create a task force to study the effectiveness, impact and cohesiveness of workforce development programs and initiatives in the state. The commitment to promote better coordination and collaboration and a more effective and efficient system for workforce development should be applauded. One of the first agenda items for the task force should be to identify and examine existing strategies that demonstrate cross-cutting, collaborative approaches to job training and employment and promise opportunity for residents who face the greatest challenges to obtaining a living wage.

Deadly math: Fentanyl and why the opioid epidemic is getting worse

Opioid overdose deaths continue to rise. A 2015 DEA report showed a greater than thousand-fold increase in fentanyls —potent synthetic opioids— showing up in intercepted drugs. This, more than anything, fuels our worsening crisis. The economics and pharmacology of fentanyl are game changers. Word on the street is buyer beware. What’s sold as heroin is probably fentanyl. What looks like a Xanax, Oxycodone, or Ativan could also be fentanyl.

Appreciation for lawmakers’ efforts to preserve funding for disabled constituents

I am the president of the board of directors of the Arc Connecticut, the state’s oldest and largest advocacy group for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD). I am writing to applaud the efforts of several key legislative leaders for the part they are playing to preserve funding for people with I/DD despite the State’s increasingly difficult budget situation.

Lawmakers should consult the disabled community on this

Barriers faced by people with disabilities are often not understood by those who are not disabled; living with dignity, respect, and independence is a daily challenge. … An important but less obvious barrier is the use of inappropriate language; words such as “lame,” or “retarded” remain in popular use. Disabled people are among the last minority groups where discrimination and inclusion are under-recognized issues. …
Drafting SB796 “An Act Concerning the Use of Respectful and Person-First Language,” the state attempts to encourage the use of respectful language.

State and federal budget cuts leave those in need behind

Connecticut’s Community Action Agencies are facing state and federal budget cuts unlike anything we’ve seen in our 50+ year history of serving low-income and working poor individuals and families. Last month over 200 CAA network staff, board members, and customers attended Community Action Day at the State Capitol to make their voices heard against these cuts, which will severely impact our ability to effectively serve Connecticut’s most vulnerable residents.

Cuts to senior citizen programs don’t just hurt seniors

Supporting seniors at home is not just a senior issue, it’s an inter-generational one. As a college student —and family caregiver for my grandmother— I am deeply concerned about the governor’s budget cuts that make it harder for older adults to age with dignity at home.