A Message from Richard Porth  
President/CEO of United Way of Connecticut

Opioids are pain-killing agents that can be found in a variety of prescription drugs such as Vicodin and Percoset, in addition to illegal substances like heroin.  If abused, they can become highly addictive and harmful.   sepia_stacked_hands.jpg

The Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS) recently announced it is taking steps to help connect service providers and Connecticut residents to a variety of resources to assist with addiction treatment.  The  DMHAS website  contains further detail on clinical treatment options and advocacy and support services.    

For additional information on substance abuse treatment, including opioid addiction treatment, please visit this  2-1-1 eLibrary article


Originally established in 2000, the  Safe Haven for Newborns Act   allows a parent to voluntarily turn over custody of an infant younger than 30 days old to the nursing staff of a Connecticut hospital emergency room, with no questions asked. Parents will not face criminal charges of abandonment under the Safe Haven program, but suspected abuse or neglect will be investigated. 

To raise awareness of Safe Havens for newborn children, the Connecticut State Legislature established April 4th as Safe Haven Day.   According to the  Connecticut Department of Children and Families  (CT DCF), since the law's inception, 27 babies have been saved from potential abandonment, including three through March of this year.  

At the hospital emergency room, a nurse will meet privately with the parent to discuss the child's medical history, allow the parent to voluntarily share contact information, and provide the parent with a packet of information on his/her rights.      

Within 24 hours the Dept. of Children and Families (DCF) will take custody of the infant and begin to develop a plan for the child's permanent care.  If the parent changes his/her mind and wants to regain custody of the child, the parent should make a request to DCF for reunification as soon as possible. 

More information about the Safe Haven for Newborns Act can be found in this 2-1-1 eLibrary article, and Safe Haven sites throughout the state can be found at this link or by dialing 2-1-1.

Recently, the Connecticut Department of Public Health  announced the  first confirmed case of the Zika virus in the state. The Zika Virus is not native to the state and is typically found in tropical regions  of the world, transmitted by  mosquito bites. 

Common symptoms are mild and may only include a rash,fever and conjunctivitis. However, if a pregnant woman becomes infected, the virus may potentially lead to  serious birth defects, including microcephaly and other complications.

While traveling, please be aware of the geographic areas where Zika is most prevalent. For pregnant women traveling, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend special precautions be taken to prevent exposure.  If you believe you may have contracted the disease, please contact your local healthcare provider.  

For additional information about Zika, please visit: 

If you have questions or concerns about your pregnancy or your child's development, please visit the   Child Development Infoline  for connection to information and supports.

Access to nutritious foods and exercise are key to a healthy lifestyle. 
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has declared March as National Nutrition Month!

Healthy eating habits can be difficult to maintain with so many food choices available and varying information on what the best diets are.  
MyPlate  provides information on each food group, pictures and nutritional facts about various foods, and online tools such as free dietary trackers for adults. This can help you create your own dietary plan that works for you. There are also dietary  checklists for children to help ensure their healthy growth and development.  

In addition to the 10,000+ calls handled to provide information on food pantries and soup kitchens last year, 2-1-1 Connecticut also actively helps connect families to healthy food sources, including local farmers' markets.

Visit  the 2-1-1 website f or more information on food programs or dial 2-1-1.