Are Rochester kids better off today than in 2011? That’s when a community-wide initiative called ROC The Future launched. The effort has been an all-hands-on-deck collaboration focused on one thing: improving the state of children in Rochester. On this Need to Know segment we’ll learn what’s working, what isn’t and if things are moving forward fast enough.

Parents have raised concerns about gaps in the quality and focus of care related to children's social and emotional health in our region. As a result, the Greater Rochester Health Foundation convened a commission on children's behavioral health. What did they find? We discuss the Crisis in Care report with our guests:

  • Dr. Martin Lustick, M.D., senior vice president and corporate medical director for Excellus BCBS, and co-chair of the Greater Rochester Initiative for Children’s Social and Emotional Health Implementation Task Force
  • Shaun Nelms, Ed.D., associate professor at the Warner School of Education at the University of Rochester, superintendent of East High School, and co-chair of the Greater Rochester Initiative for Children’s Social and Emotional Health Implementation Task Force
  • Anita Black, program officer for the Greater Rochester Health Foundation

We're living in an evolving technology landscape where it may sometimes seem like you can’t escape the glow of a screen. What does this mean for children?

More than 92 percent of kids have used a mobile device as early as four months old. While educational media has its benefits, too much screen time – especially of non-educational media – can have negative effects on kids' health and development.

So how much media exposure is safe for babies, toddlers, tweens, and teens? The American Academy of Pediatrics has released new screen time recommendations and a Family Media Use Plan. We break them down, talk about the effects screen time has on kids, and answer your questions. Our guests:

  • Dr. Elizabeth Murray, assistant professor in the Department of Pediatrics at Golisano Children’s Hospital
  • Dr. Heidi Connolly, assistant professor in the Department of Pediatrics at Golisano Children’s Hospital
  • Celeste Barkley, lead organizer for The Children’s Agenda

On Education Friday, we hear often about the value of play early in life... but what does the research say? Our guests will explain how play impacts learning, and how physical activity can set the stage for intellectual development. Our guests weigh in:

  • Cindy Anderson, occupational therapy/physical therapy supervisor at Clinical Associates of the Finger Lakes
  • Stephanie Dickson, physical therapist, Clinical Associates of the Finger Lakes

A new study finds that elementary school students are getting nearly three times as much homework, on average, than is recommended by education leaders. The old "10-minute rule" is routinely broken. Some parents tell us that this just means kids are getting more prepared for college or the workforce, and homework lets them see what schools are doing. Others argue that homework steals family and free time, and doesn't have much educational value. Our guests will discuss their approach:

  • Donna Marie Cozine, Head of Academics for the Renaissance Academy Charter School of the Arts
  • Erica Hernandez, parent and teacher


A NYS Assembly committee holds a hearing on the issue of childhood poverty in Rochester on Monday afternoon.

It's being held by the Assembly Committee on Children and Families and Social Services which notes that 22 percent of children in the state live in poverty.

Children are impacted by violence in deep and long-lasting ways. A fresh look at the issue reveals that violence is a part of the lives of children across the spectrum: poverty and affluence, city and suburbs. How to change that? And what, exactly, do we know about the lives of children impacted by violence? Our panel in studio:

  • Dr. Jeff Kazarowski, president of The Children's Agenda
  • Sheree Toth, Director of the Mt. Hope Family Center and professor of psychology at the University of Rochester
  • Jerome Underwood, Rochester City School District community liaison

A new report from the Rochester Area Community Foundation outlines the impact of poverty on Rochester. The details are troubling:

  • Rochester’s poverty rate continues to rise;
  • The childhood poverty rate ranks highest among comparable cities and is now the only city where more than half of the children live in poverty; and
  • Rochester now has the highest rate of extreme poverty.

We dive deeper into this report with Ann Johnson from ACT Rochester, and the report's author, Ed Doherty.

In the first part of the show, we highlight the band Led Zeppelin. They’re the focus of a celebration hosted by the Institute for Popular Music this weekend. We talk with the institute’s director, John Covach.

Then we talk with Dr. David Korones from Golisano Children’s Hospital at Strong about the illnesses that kids in Western New York are facing. 

Connections: Raising Healthy Children

Jul 30, 2014

We ask the question, “How do we raise healthy children?” We discuss the risk of childhood obesity, healthy eating, and exercise. We also discuss about how to best keep their minds healthy, as well. How much screen time is healthy for kids and what are some of the alternatives to video games and television? Our panel weighs in:

Debra Ross, founder of Kids Out and About

Stephen Cook, UR Medicine pediatrician

Adrienne Furness, Henrietta Public Library

Tonia Burton, children’s services consultant at the Central Library of Rochester & Monroe County