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September 26, 2016

This week’s family-related news coverage included details about an opportunity for early filing of the federal college aid form, exploration of the emotional struggles of the empty nester, discussion of a proposed new surrogate law in India, an analysis of two recent NYS Court of Appeals cases addressing a wider definition “parent,” two articles of how schools can support the emotional health of their young students, and, finally, a look at an initiative to involve pediatric patients in medical decision making.

At Last, Your Financial Aid Ordeal Has Gotten Easier Susan Dynarski, The New York Times, September 16, 2016 Starting this year, families can file federal financial aid forms as early as Oct. 1., giving them early, solid information they can use to compare the affordability of colleges.

The Eternal Struggle of the Empty Nester Henry Alford, The New York Times, September 17, 2016 Mr. Alford discusses the precarious emotional balance many parents face when their child leaves home.

Why Some of India’s Surrogate Moms Are Full of Regret Julie McCarthy, NPR, September 18, 2016 The government is proposing a law that would bar couples married fewer than five years, unmarried couples, gays, singles and foreigners from commissioning a surrogate. But with India’s most disadvantaged women acting as surrogates, would a ban deprive them of an economic opportunity or protect them from exploitation?

Court of Appeals Recognizes New Frontiers in Parenting Amy Barasch and Kim Susser, New York Law Journal, September 19, 2016 The authors share their views on the September 1 Court of Appeals decision on two cases considered together on appeal — “Brooke M.” and “Estrellita X” — which received attention for the victory the decision represents for gay and lesbian parents. The authors write, however, that the decision should be appreciated also as a decision about parenting in its myriad forms and for the fact that meeting the standard of the best interests of the child need not be exclusively about biology.

Sixth Grade Is Tough; It Helps To Be “Top Dog” Anya Kamenetz, NPR, September 19, 2016 A large study finds that in the traditional middle school model, 6th-8th grade, one third of sixth graders are often ostracized and worse with deleterious effects on the students. The best solution may be to avoid the middle school years altogether by embracing the K-8 model.

Here’s How Schools Can Support Students’ Mental Health Meg Anderson, NPR, September 20, 2016 An elementary school has kids meditate instead of punishing them and the results are profound. The “mindful moment room” is in use in one Baltimore elementary school as a replacement to “detention,” with far reaching positive results at school and at home.

When Should Children Take Part in Medical Decisions? Perri Klass, MD, The New York Times, September 20, 2016 Dr. Klass fully explores the American Academy of Pediatrics recent policy statement and accompanying technical report, analyzing the issue of informed consent by pediatric patients. When done appropriately, it has been found to have myriad of positive effects when youngsters are more involved in the discussion of their medical care.

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