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February 13, 2017

This week’s family-related news coverage included an extensive look at how Iceland successfully addressed their teen drug addiction problem, the positive effects on children of being involved in a “green schoolyard,” a story of how two adult children credit their parents’ divorce for creating their tight sibling bond, one adoptive father’s plea for Putin to again allow adoption by Americans, a study of the devastating impact of high college costs on some students, a look at the importance of employing more black, male teachers, the benefits of being a stay at home dad (even when it is unplanned),and a story of how Italy is tackling the issue of mob crime by relocating children.

How Iceland Got Teens to Say No to Drugs Emma Young, The Atlantic, January 19, 2017 Twenty years ago…Icelandic teens were among the heaviest drinking youths in Europe…Today, Iceland tops the European table for the cleanest-living teens…Curfews, sports, and understanding kids’ brain chemistry have all helped dramatically curb substance abuse in the country. However, it is thought that Icelandic focus on parents, school and the community all coming together to help support kids, and on parents being engaged in young people’s lives would be hard to replicate in the United States.

How Small Steps Can Create Outdoors Experiences in Schools Leah Shaffer, KQED News, February 2, 2017 Even in urban school districts, teachers can create a multidisciplinary outdoor classroom. “Mental health and social and emotional well-being are two key areas that we believe children benefit from in a green schoolyard,” according to Sharon Danks, CEO of Green Schoolyards America.

The Secret to Sibling Success Ellen Umansky, The New York Times, February 3, 2017 “You guys are so close,” she said. “It must be nice. Tell me, what can I do to make my daughters as close as you are?”…“You want to know?” Eric said. “I’ll tell you: You and your husband should separate, then go through an ugly divorce. That’ll bring your kids together.”

Trump Should Push Putin on Adoption Ban Ben Krull, The Chicago Tribune, February 7, 2017 There are also many childless Americans who want to adopt but are unable to become parents because of an adoption market that is saturated due to Russia’s closure and limits placed on other international adoption options. President Trump should seize the opportunity to try to help Russia’s orphans and the Americans who wish to adopt them.

The Number of Hungry and Homeless Students Rises Along With College Costs Kirk Carezza, NPR, February 8, 2017 Researchers at the University of Wisconsin surveyed more than 4,000 undergrads at community colleges across the country…Twenty percent of students reported being hungry, 13 percent homeless.

How I Learned My Own Value as a Black Male Teacher Ricky House, PBS, February 9, 2017 “Slightly more than half of all public school students are children of color. Yet, despite documented benefits of a racially and ethnically diverse teaching force, no more than 2 percent of teachers in the public education system are black men,” according to the Washington Post. “Black male teachers have the ability to see themselves in their black students and can build a connection that, quite frankly, will be very hard for others to make,” according to Mr. House.

I Never Expected to be a Stay-at-Home Dad, But Here’s Why It Works Billy Doidge Kilgore, The Washington Post, February 9, 2017 Looking back on that first year, I realize that caring for my son helped me access my capacity to nurture. It gave me an opportunity to grow into this side of myself and in so doing, to become more whole.

Breaking Up the Family as a Way to Break Up the Mob Gaia Pianigini, The New York Times, February 10, 2017 “But it was the day he charged the younger brother of a minor he had jailed years before that he [a 53-year-old magistrate, president of the Reggio Calabria minors’ court] decided to take a drastic step: separating children from their mob families and moving them to a different part of Italy to break a generational cycle of criminality…” After the children are moved to a different Italian region, the authorities can try to create the conditions for an ordinary childhood.

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