Community Snapshot

Percent of Children Grades K-3 Eligible for Free and Reduced Lunch


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Story Behind the Curve

While overall Southington appears somewhat affluent, pockets of poverty exist and are unfortunately growing as shown by the upward trend in children eligible for free and reduced lunch. Title 1 schools are identified based on the free and reduced lunch eligibility rate. Southington now has 4 Title 1 schools.

Other programs look at the number of free and reduced lunches served. Flanders School’s percentage of free and reduced lunches served in 2015-2016 of 44.53% made us eligible for State of CT School Readiness grants per Connecticut State Department of Education.

Research shows there is a link between family economic stress and children's behavior problems.

Educationally based before and after school programs expose kids to new concepts and activities as well as assist working parents with childcare.

According to the Center on the Developing Child, chronic stress can be toxic to developing brains.

Achievement on CMT scores shows significant disparities, particularly with lower reading and writing scores for boys, for children receiving free & reduced price lunches, and for special education students. (


Southington is fortunate to have a comprehensive non-profit organization called Bread for Life. This organization works with the town to address the hunger needs of Southington's residents. As a result, they have partnered with Southington's elementary schools to offer breakfast to those K-5 students in need.

Southington Public Schools

Southington Community Services

What Works

Strengthening Families Model

There are five key protective factors shown to make a difference in strengthening families:

Parent Resilience:
No one can eliminate stress from parenting, but building parental resilience can affect how a parent deals with stress. Parental resilience is the ability to constructively cope with and bounce back from all types of challenges. It is about creatively solving problems, building trusting relationships, maintaining a positive attitude, and seeking help when it is needed.

Knowledge of Parenting and Child Development:
Having accurate information about raising young children and appropriate expectations for their behavior help parents better understand and care for children. It is important that information is available when parents need it, that is, when it is relevant to their life and their child. Parents whose own families used harsh discipline techniques or parents of children with developmental or behavior problems or special needs require extra support in building this Protective Factor.

Social and Emotional Competence of Children:
A child’s ability to interact positively with others, to self-regulate, and to effectively communicate his or her emotions has a great impact on the parent-child relationship. Children with challenging behaviors are more likely to be abused, so early identification and working with them helps keep their development on track and keeps them safe. Also, children who have experienced or witness violence need a safe environment that offers opportunities to develop normally.

Social Connections:
Friends, family members, neighbors, and other members of a community provide emotional support and concrete assistance to parents. Social connections help parents build networks of support that serve multiple purposes: they can help parents develop and reinforce community norms around childrearing, provide assistance in times of need, and serve as a resource for parenting information or help solving problems. Because isolation is a common risk factor for abuse and neglect, parents who
are isolated need support in building positive friendships.

Concrete Support in Times of Need:
Parents need access to the types of concrete supports and services that can minimize the stress of difficult situations, such as a family crisis, a condition such as substance abuse, or stress associated with lack of resources. Building this Protective Factor is about helping to ensure the basic needs of a family, such as food, clothing, and shelter, are met and connecting parents and children to services, especially those that have a stigma associated with them, like domestic violence shelter or substance abuse counseling, in times of crisis.
Information provided by: Strengthening Families, a project of the Center for the Study of Social Policy:


Continue to provide Family Resource Center play and learn groups for children birth to age 5.

Continue to host parent workshops.

Connect families to needed resources.

Consider having a Family Liaison for programs supporting school readiness.

Work to continue to improve and expand the information and resources on family supportive programs -- be sure these are listed on the new ECCS website.

Educate early care and education providers on how to identify families for whom protective factors are weak or absent as well as how to strengthen protective factors.

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