There’s a new lab focused on parenting at the University of Maine: the Parenting Relationships Research Lab. One of the areas of focus there is on understanding the different forms of co-parenting, which can include everything from divorced couples sharing parenting duties, to grandparents raising their grandchildren, to other blended family situations. We will learn about what makes these kinds of parenting relationships work or not work well, and their effects on children.

Almost one in five children in Maine lives in poverty. What can be done to break this cycle? We’ll learn about a new initiative that seeks to address the challenges of childhood poverty on many levels.

How does connecting with nature help children’s learning, development and well-being? And is ‘nature deficit disorder’ a problem among young people in Maine?


Nov 16, 2017

Nationally, one in seven children between the ages of 10 and 18 will run away from home. We’ll learn about programs in Maine to help runaway children.

Guests: Chris Bicknell, Executive Director, New Beginnings

Kera Pingree, Youth and Community Engagement/Muskie School/USM

Gayle Erdheim, Truancy, Dropouts, Homeless, and Alternative Education Coordinator, Maine Department of Education

Philosophy & Children

Jun 12, 2017

Christopher Phillips, Ph.D., the creator of the Socrates Cafe initiative (of which there are a number in Maine), joins us to discuss his new project - childing, which asks adults to look at the powers of reasoning, empathy, curiosity and problem solving found in children in order for both children and adults to develop fully.  Joining our conversation will be Marietta McCarty (via ISDN), author of Little Big Minds - Sharing Philosophy with Kids.

Adoption in Maine

Aug 5, 2014

The history of the Maine Children's Home for Little Wanderers and answers to your questions about adoption - both domestic and international - in Maine.

Guests:  Sharon Abrams, LSW, Maine Children's Home executive director.
  Lindsay Bragdon, LSW, Maine Children's Home birthparent counselor post adoption, adoption caseworker, and search caseworker.
Jill Huard, former Maine Children's Home board president, and current board member. She is an adult adoptee.

Home Schooling

Dec 30, 2013

  In Maine and across the country, homeschooling is on the rise. How well does home schooling work and what are the challenges it presents to parents and their children.

Host Jennifer Rooks was joined by
Belinda Ray, a freelance writer, bookkeeper and English teacher who has homeschooled her sons.
Lisa Siciliano homeschools her two children and volunteers with the Homeschoolers of Maine.
Desmond Molloy, a 16 year old from Falmouth who, although he attended preschool, has been homeschooled all of his life.

Kids Count

Jun 25, 2013

  The Annie E. Casey Foundation releases its annual KIDS COUNT report on child well-being on 6/24. Maine ranked 13th among all the states. (It ranked 1st in child health and 6th in the overall well-being of families and the communities in which they live).

Host Jennifer Rooks was joined by 

Claire Berkowitz, Research & KIDS COUNT Director, Maine Children’s Alliance 

Ned McCann, executive director of Maine Children’s Alliance 



Apr 3, 2013

  Stories of adoption, including Best Selling Maine Author Linda Greenlaw's decision to adopt a teenager.

 Host Keith Shortall was joined by:

Linda Greenlaw, swordfisherman, author of numerous books. Her most recent book is "Lifesaving Lessons - Notes from an Accidental Mother."

Carol Welsh, author of "360 Square: A Memoir of Adoption and Identity"

Therese Cahill-Low, Director, Office of Child and Family Services, Maine Dept. of Health and Human Services

  The Telling Room, a non-profit organization devoted to reading and storytelling, hosted a talk by Paul Tough called How Children Succeed.

Paul Tough is a Canadian-American broadcaster and writer, and mostly recently, the author of How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity and the Power of Character.

This talk was recorded November 7, 2012 in Portland at USM’s Hannaford Hall.

The Telling Room

Teacher Evaluation

Feb 26, 2013

  A conversation with Maine's Commissioner of Education, the President of the Maine Education Association, and the Superintendent of Lewiston Public Schools. Grading teachers and how to get the best performance from those teaching our children.

Host Keith Shortall was joined by:

Stephen Bowen, Commissioner of Maine Department of Education

Bill Webster, Superintendent of Lewiston Public Schools

Lois Kilby-Chesley, President, Maine Education Association

  What do children need to learn to become successful adults? What are schools doing or not doing, to teach students the problem solving and critical thinking skills needed to succeed in the workplace.

Host Keith Shortall was joined by:

Melissa L. Cilley, Esq. Executive Director, Susan L. Curtis Charitable Foundation

Christopher P Miles, CEO Alliance Press

Katie Grondin, Auburn Schools Superintendent

  Maine Education Secretary Stephen Bowen discussed the safety of Maine's schools in the wake of the fatal shooting of 20 school children and six educators in Newtown, CT.

Host Keith Shortall spoke with:

Maine Education Secretary Stephen Bowen

Bruce St Thomas, therapist based in Portland, ME and  

Susan Giambalvo, LCSW, Program Director for the Center for Grieving Children.

  Take a look at the latest news and trends in the world of children's literature.

Host Keith Shortall was joined by:

Vicky Smith, Children’s & Teen Editor, Kirkus Reviews

Scott Nash, children's book illustrator and author, NASHBOX Design and Illustration

Chris Van Dusen, children's book author/illustrator

Juvenile Justice

Nov 14, 2012

  How should our society deal with young people who are charged with crimes or wrongdoing. Are there ways to prevent criminal behavior or to rehabilitate troubled youth?

Host Keith Shortall was joined by:

Dr. Ross Greene, Child psychologist and founder of Lives In The Balance

Rep. Anne Haskell, State Senator-Elect Anne Haskell, D-Portland, Co-chair of the state Juvenile Justice Implementation Council

Ned Chester, Portland-based attorney who specializes in juvenile defense