Todd Bookman/NHPR

The adoptive parents of two children who were sexually abused are suing the Division of Children, Youth, and Families, arguing the state agency didn’t do enough to protect the victims even after social workers became involved.

The lawsuit also names Easter Seals New Hampshire, a non-profit contracted to provide supervision during parental visits.

Are Parents Trying Too Hard?

Oct 10, 2016

After helicopter parenting and tiger moms, a new book tells American parents to back off!  We talk with  developmental psychologist Alison Gopnik  about her book, The Gardener and The Carpenter.  Gopnik draws on the science of the human brain and evolution to make the argument that children are hard-wired to learn on their own.  We discuss the two possible ways of thinking about the role of parents suggested by the book's title and look at insights the new science offers into the relationship between parents and kids. 

GUEST:   Alison Gopnik, professor of psychology and philosphy at University of California, Berkeley.

Jack Seeds via Flickr CC /

America's opioid crisis has local, state and federal officials scrambling - which is why the DEA decided to ban Kratom, an Asian  plant with an opioid-like effect, as a schedule one drug. But some researchers and users say it could help addicts get kick addictive drugs. Today, crackdown on Kratom - the drug you hadn't heard of until last week.

Plus, walk into a pre-school or elementary school today and you won't find peanut butter, but you'll likely see a few sets of twins ...we'll look at twinning patterns throughout human history, and why the proportion of twins in the population continues to ebb and flow.

Casey McDermott / NHPR

All this week, NHPR is looking at how New Hampshire schools are rethinking the role they play in the lives of their students and their communities.  More students are arriving preoccupied with hunger, homelessness, and other family crises.  Teachers are on the front lines, trying to fill basic needs before the learning begins. Schools are cobbling together their own system of social services in the face of the state’s heroin crisis, the aftermath of the recession, and struggling local economies.  

Concussions: What We Know Now and How to Respond

Apr 6, 2016
David Hassler / Flickr/CC

With the NFL recently admitting that repeated blows to the head can cause degenerative brain disease, we take a time-out to scan the research on brain trauma, including innovations in reducing incidents and assessing concussions.  But is what we're learning discouraging participation in contact sports? And is rising concern over brain injury backed by science?

Logan Shannon / NHPR

When it comes to the players and intrigues of primary politics, Fergus Cullen, has plenty of stories. On today’s show we celebrate election day with the former chair of the New Hampshire Republican Party. He'll dish on some key moments of primaries past, And explain what he thinks makes New Hampshire voters tick.

Plus, we'll remember the campaign of Margaret Chase Smith, the first woman from a major party to run for president, in 1964.

Ian Britton via Flickr CC /

When the cold winds blow and the snow falls, there’s no more romantic and carefree way to travel than a train. Today air and interstate travel have turned these engines of American mobility into expensive relics. On today’s show, we’ll pen a love letter to riding the rails.

And the old world charm continues with the particular intimacy of handwritten letters. From the Queen’s scone recipe, to life-saving encouragement from a punk rock icon, we’ll talk to a collector of correspondence deserving a wider audience.

Kids and Digital Media: What Parents Need to Know

Dec 22, 2015
Mike / Flickr/CC

This holiday season, many kids are asking for shiny new devices, but some parents worry about how access to all this may affect children. We talk with the author of a new book that takes a fact-not-fear approach to exposing kids to technology, and promises to help parents navigate the digital world.


Patrick / Flickr/CC

The number of homeschooling families in New Hampshire and nationwide continues to grow, and they’re more diverse: including families with a wider range of political, religious, and educational approaches. But even as this group expands, it is less regulated by the states, sparking debate on how much oversight is needed. 

The show was originally broadcast on September 22, 2015.


9.08.15: A Neurodiversity Primer & Miranda July

Sep 8, 2015
Pink Sherbet Photography via Flickr CC /

The CDC estimates that about 1 in 68 children have been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder or ASD. Today, the author of a new book on the science of autism gives us a primer on the neurodiversity movement. Then, Miranda July may be known for her quirky role in the 2005 film Me and You and Everyone We Know but the actress and artist has since written a debut novel which borrows heavily from her personal life. 

Giving Matters: Connecting Kids with the Natural World

Aug 29, 2015
Courtesy Squam Lake Natural Science Center

At the Squam Lakes Natural Science Center, visitors learn about New Hampshire’s environment up-close: observing otters, black bear and moose as the walk the center’s trails. Eric Kelsey and his daughter Sophie are regular visitors, and Sophie attended the center’s Blue Heron School, a nature-based early learning center.

Elizabeth / Flickr/CC

After allowing their six and ten year old children to walk a mile home by themselves, a Maryland couple are fighting accusations of child neglect. The case has inflamed a familiar argument over how much supervision and independence children need. We’ll look behind the clichés and get the range of views on free-range parenting.

Does Homework Matter? N.H. Educators Weigh In

Aug 3, 2015
Marco Nedermeijer / Flickr/CC

The emerging focus in New Hampshire on what’s called “competency-based” education, emphasizes mastery of a subject over time in class or number of worksheets completed.  But traditional homework has many defenders, who say it solidifies class learning and fosters good study habits.

  This program was originally broadcast on January 8, 2015.


Jack Rodolico for NHPR

A new state law aims to boost the number of children screened for lead poisoning. There's good reason New Hampshire is aiming for that goal.

Children aged 0-6 are the most likely to suffer permanent health and cognitive damage from lead exposure. Yet in 2013, New Hampshire tested a mere 16.5 percent of children in this age group for elevated blood lead levels. That's concerning because 62 percent of New Hampshire's houses were built before 1978 - the year the federal government cracked down on lead paint.

Summer Camp: An Antidote To 'Helicopter Parenting?'

May 26, 2015
Camp Emerson / Flickr/CC

We talk with author Michael Thompson, who argues in his new book that kids need summer camp more than ever.  With today’s over-scheduled and over-protected children, Thompson says summer camp remains one of the few places where kids have to rough it, stretch their boundaries, and conquer the challenges of the great-outdoors.

Jenny Cestnik via flickr Creative Commons /

Despite the fact that New Hampshire has one of the nation’s lowest poverty rates and is often rated as a top spot to raise children, indicators show that the gap between poor and wealthy families is growing.  On today’s show we join NHPR’s series, The First Decade, with a broader view of the impact of housing and neighborhoods on a child’s well-being. Then, an inside look at what really goes into designing effective affordable housing and how even the most seemingly trivial details can make or break a project.

The First Decade: N.H. Family Demographics

May 18, 2015
Emma Fierberg / Flickr Creative Commons

The Granite State has one of the lowest childhood poverty rates in the nation. But behind that rosy figure is a widening gap between children who have and those who have not. As we kick off our series “The First Decade” we’ll look at the causes, effects, and potential solutions for families struggling in New Hampshire.

Sara Plourde for NHPR

There are many factors that affect the way a family with children lives. We've selected ten of these - factors which affect income, access to resources, and stability - and combined them to illustrate how families are doing at either end of the income spectrum.
This graphic illustrates how the top 25% and bottom 25% compare, and how the bottom 25% compares with the average of all New Hampshire families. 

Notes on the data:

David Goehring via flickr Creative Commons /

After Walter Scott was fatally shot by a South Carolina police officer last month, his family speculated he fled the police because he feared going back to jail for unpaid child support. On today’s show: a closer look at child support policies and why some argue it keeps poor men trapped in a cycle of debt, unemployment and prison. 

Then, the modern answer to hieroglyphics, emoji can convey tone and emotion in a single image. Later we’ll delve into emoji use around the world, and what it reveals about cultural and national identities. 

Giving Matters: Helping Families Survive Cancer

Apr 11, 2015
Joan Cross/NHPR

On Belay uses adventure-based recreation as a platform to build community for kids whose families have been affected by cancer. The Kontarinis are one such family. After Angelo passed away from kidney cancer in October, 2010, His wife Melissa and their three children (aged eight, five and three) faced the daunting task of “getting on” with their lives. 

Giving Matters: Making Kids Savvy Media Consumers

Mar 7, 2015

Mary Jill LaRocca is an elementary school health teacher in Manchester. She helps students navigate the barrage of unhealthy messages that kids are exposed to. She turns to Media Power Youth’s Media Smart curriculum to help her students think critically about messages that promote violence, alcohol use, junk food and more, so they can be wise media consumers. 

Families First Health & Support Center

The state of New Hampshire is receiving nearly $4.8 million in grant money to support home wellness visits for young children and pregnant women.  Federal Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell announced the grant Thursday as part of $386 million awarded nationwide to support home visitation programs.  Burwell says the grant gives New Hampshire the flexibility to tailor its home visit programs to address the needs of the communities they serve.  The national Home Visiting Program currently serves about one-third of the counties in the country with high rates of low birth weights

1.1.15: Happy New Year!

Jan 1, 2015
Thomas via flickr Creative Commons /

It’s official: 2015 is here. And with the New Year comes an opportunity for a fresh start. On today’s show, we’ll start 2015 on the right foot. Philosopher and historian Roman Krzanric discovers lessons for living a richer, more satisfying modern life, by looking for examples in the past. Plus, an inside look at the 11-billion-dollar self-help industry. We’ll talk to a writer who attended workshops, conferences and visualized success – all to better understand America’s fixation with self-improvement.

Listen to the full show and click Read more for individual segments.

Giving Matters: Giving Kids The Gift Of Opera

Dec 30, 2014

Melanie Everard, was an opera-skeptic. “I was much more than a skeptic, I disliked opera intensely.” A surprising sentiment from a music teacher, and it made her an unlikely candidate to participate in an educator’s workshop conducted by the Metropolitan Opera. 


Ryan Van Lenning / via flickr Creative Commons

Not so long ago, when talking to kids about marijuana, the script for parents was simple: just say no. But legalization has made the conversation more complicated. On today’s show, how to talk to kids about marijuana.

Then we examine a growing issue for some working parents: the forever clock. From all-night diners to big box stores that never close, our economies run 24-7. We’ll take a look at the latest in around-the-clock service: 24 hour day care.

Listen to the full show and click Read more for individual segments.

Giving Matters: CDN Provides Dental Care To Uninsured Kids

Oct 25, 2014
Courtesy David Mulder via Flickr Creative Commons

The Children’s Dental Network offers preventive dental services in 27 schools in and around Derry, NH to children who wouldn’t otherwise have access to those services. Jeanne Carroll and her husband are both college grads, and considered themselves “middle class;” they never thought they would have difficulty providing dental health care for their three children. 

Brad Flickinger / Flickr/CC

As laptops, iPads, and smartphones become commonplace in kids’ lives at home and school, parents are increasingly uneasy about where to set limits, or even what counts as 'screen time.' We’ll talk about that, and then also another conundrum of the digital age: whether taking time to teach kids handwriting and cursive in school still has value.


Nicole McCracken

State health officials say a survey shows there’s progress being made in the battle against childhood obesity in New Hampshire.

A statewide survey that tracked the actual weights of third-graders finds obesity rates have dropped by a whopping 30 percent since 2008.

Director of Public Health José Montero says when he saw the numbers, he recalculated them all himself to make sure there wasn’t a mistake.

He says they’re correct, and mark a tremendous step forward in childhood health.

Giving Matters: Prescott Farms Gets Kids Outside

Sep 22, 2014
Courtesy Prescott Farm Environmental Education Center

The Prescott Farm Environmental Education Center offers year-round programs for all ages. Its “Wildquest” camps help connect kids with nature and their local landscapes. 

Prescott Farm has always been a landmark for Gretchen O’Neill. “We’re very grateful that our daughter, Gabriella, can come here to attend the camp, or that we can come up and explore it and walk the trails.

Giving Matters: Making Kids Savvy Media Consumers

Sep 5, 2014

Mary Jill LaRocca is an elementary school health teacher in Manchester. She helps students navigate the barrage of unhealthy messages that kids are exposed to. She turns to Media Power Youth’s Media Literacy for Safe and Healthy Choices curriculum to help her students think critically about messages that promote violence, alcohol use, junk food and more, so they can be wise media consumers.