The Graduate School at UConn fully understands the important role that family plays in the graduate student experience. We recognize family members as part of the overall support unit for students, and part of the team that encourages personal and professional success. The Office of Institutional Equity (OIE) has developed a list of resources to help pregnant and parenting Graduate students, which we strongly advise you to visit.
We encourage you to like us on Facebook and check out these family friendly sites to learn more about local community resources. We maintain a website of family friendly information, host a Facebook group for families, distribute a brief newsletter on timely topic and provide a few family friendly programs each semester.
In addition, UConn has a Work/Life Oversight Committee that assembles staff and students to address ongoing program and policy decisions regarding issues of interest to our students with families. The goal is to help determine priorities and to develop information and advocacy resources across the campus.
For All Graduate Students
The Office of Institutional Equity (formerly the Office of Diversity and Equity) is UConn’s agency tasked to deal with harassment, discrimination, and equal opportunity violations. Pregnancy or relationship status would qualify as protected classifications. See their website for information on applicable state laws and procedures at UConn: http://equity.uconn.edu/
UConn Title IX policies and resources on sexual harassment, sexual assault, intimate partner violence, or stalking http://titleix.uconn.edu/
National Women’s Law Center discussing the specific ramifications of pregnancy and parenting Title IX rights for students: https://nwlc.org/resources/pregnant-and-parenting-students-rights-faqs-college-and-graduate-students/
The Graduate School allows students to take up to twelve months off from their program for reasons including family leave. Graduate Catalog’s family leave policy and procedure: http://gradcatalog.uconn.edu/grad-school-info/policy-on-leave-of-absence-from-graduate-studies/
UConn lactation policies, lactation room locations http://policy.uconn.edu/2016/12/21/lactation-policy/
This applies to classroom/lab time for graduate students in their student role, and to workplace conditions for Graduate Assistants. Requests for help arranging lactation accommodations can be made with Student Health Services (for student roles) or Human Resources (for GA roles), though both places as well as the Women’s Center can help you figure it out no matter who you contact first
UConn’s official child in the workplace policy, which applies to grads in both their student and GA roles http://policy.uconn.edu/2015/04/20/children-in-the-workplace/
For Graduate Assistants
Leave policies and process for arranging time off from work, including maternity and non-birth parent/adoption leave: www.hr.uconn.edu/ga-leave-administration/
GEU-UAW grievance procedure for violations of contract or workplace conditions http://uconngradunion.org/geu-uaw-collective-bargaining-agreement/article-25-grievance-and-arbitration/
Insurance information for GA students, including information on enrolling spouses and dependents: http://hr.uconn.edu/ct-partnership-health-benefits/
University healthcare plan for students, which is an option for non-GA students: http://shs.uconn.edu/insurance-information/
Connecticut healthcare exchange: https://www.accesshealthct.com/AHCT/LandingPageCTHIX
Several insurance plans, including the HUSKY/Medicaid program, are available with different levels of coverage and income-based subsidies
Generations Family Healthcare in Willimantic can help walk you through applying for HUSKY and using the Access CT system http://genhealth.org/patient-information/insurance
Graduate students are eligible to use Student Health Services on the Storrs campus (http://shs.uconn.edu/) but family members are not. There are many local primary care providers or pediatricians in Mansfield and the nearby towns; your insurance provider’s listings may be a first place to look to ensure you find an office that takes your insurance. For GAs on the university-provided insurance plan, the search form for doctors and dentists can be found here: https://www.oxhp.com/secure/provider_roster/content_doctor.html
There are several nearby urgent care centers and hospitals:
UConn Health Urgent Care in Storrs Center
Med-East Walk-in Clinic, with locations in Willimantic and Tolland
Backus Hospital, Norwich
Connecticut Children’s Medical Center, Hartford
Care for Children with Special Needs
Primary services for children with special needs in Connecticut are handled by several different agencies:
Local public schools: contact your school district’s special needs director as soon as possible
Connecticut Parent Advocacy Center is a private advocacy organization with policy and resource information for parents of special needs children: http://www.cpacinc.org/
Resource page compiled by a state government site: http://www.ct.gov/kids/cwp/view.asp?A=4072&Q=478300
There are a variety of specialists, therapy providers, and caregivers, particularly as you get closer to Hartford, but Connecticut Children’s Medical Center (which has facilities in downtown Hartford and around the state) is a place to start as they offer a wide range of services: http://www.connecticutchildrens.org/
UConn’s Psychological Services Clinic (part of the Psychology Department) also offers evaluations and some counseling services for special needs children: http://psychservicesclinic.uconn.edu/
Home Care and Babysitters
There are many certified day care centers, in-home care providers, and babysitters in Mansfield and the surrounding towns. Here is contact information for several professional care centers close to the Storrs campus and information to look up providers across the wider area.
“A free, confidential, and statewide service which helps match the requests of parents with child care providers and programs.”
Babysitter/nanny locator service, available with subscription: www.care.com
Forum for connecting people requesting and providing babysitting
Possible funding support: Many Connecticut towns (including Mansfield, Coventry, Windham, Vernon, and Manchester, among others) participate in the School Readiness Grant program, which provides partial funding support for a number of preschool-aged children in approved daycare programs. Parents whose child gets a spot in the program pay reduced daycare tuition based on a sliding income-based scale. Mansfield Advocates for Children oversees the program for Mansfield; check with your town to see if they participate and who has oversight. http://www.ct.gov/oec/lib/oec/earlycare/sr/sroverview.pdf.pdf.pdf
School District Contact Info
For families with children of school age (approximately 3-18 years old) arriving at UConn, one of the first steps should be to contact their town’s school district. Three-five year old children may be eligible for a pre-K program and older children can register to enter the local schools. If your child is eligible for additional social services (ESL, speech therapy, etc) that is also provided through the school districts’ special education system. Here are the websites for schools in several towns close to UConn where grad students often live:
Before/After School Care
Many towns run before/after school care programs through their school district or parks and recreation department.
Graduate Families email listserv
To subscribe to the listserv, send an email to LISTSERV@LISTSERV.UCONN.EDU. Leave the subject field blank. In the email body, paste: SUBSCRIBE GRAD_FAMILIES-L [insert your name] and send, then click the confirmation email’s link.
Informal network of newcomers to UConn and the surrounding towns. They have a useful listing of local resources and ideas for what to do when moving to the UConn area.
Accredited and certified on-campus care center connected to the Family Studies program, with daycare for infant, toddler, and preschool children.
Collaborative group working within the Department of Human Resources to develop policies and resources for balancing professional and personal lives.
UConn Off-Campus Housing site, with links to searchable listings
There are limited options for graduate student housing on campus at the moment, with no options for family housing.
“The UConn Ombudsman serves as a neutral resource who provides confidential and informal assistance to members of the campus community. The Ombuds Office was established to provide a confidential, neutral resource for staff, faculty, and graduate students to express concerns, identify options to address workplace conflicts, facilitate productive communication, and surface responsible concerns regarding university policies and practices.” Located on the second floor of Homer Babbidge Library, Rm. 2189
“The primary function of the Dean of Students Office is to help students and their families get answers and solutions to those tough college- life questions or problems that students may have. Question and problems may include life decisions (personal or academic), navigating the bureaucracy of a large institution and/or learning self-advocacy. In addition, the website maintains a page with helpful UConn web links.” Located in Wilbur Cross, Room 203.
“In order to develop an inclusive community for instruction, research and outreach, the University embraces diversity and cultivates leadership, integrity, and engaged citizenship among our students, faculty, and staff. This collegiate and vibrant environment promotes and nurtures perspectives that are enabled through differences in culture, experience, and values. To achieve this goal, the university emphasizes diversity in the recruitment, retention, and advancement of students, faculty, and staff. Initiatives to support these goals are provided through the Office of the Vice Provost for Diversity.” Located in Wilbur Cross.
UConn KIDS (Kids in Developmental Science) program
UConn KIDS is a contact database for families interested in participating in research and a group of UConn researchers spanning more than 20 child development and behavior labs across the University. Depending on the study, participants or their parents may receive compensation for their time.
Counseling Centers for Individuals, Couples, or Children
Short-term counseling available for all UConn students. Located on the 4th floor of Arjona.
“The Psychological Services Clinic offers an array of mental health services to adults, teens, children, and families in eastern Connecticut. The Clinic is operated by the University of Connecticut as a training clinic for graduate students in Clinical Psychology. Services are provided by graduate students under the supervision of licensed clinical psychologists and faculty members in the department of Psychology. All contacts with the Clinic are completely confidential in accordance with Connecticut state law.”
The Humphrey Clinic is a counseling, teaching and research facility, housed within the Marriage and Family Therapy graduate training program at UCONN, Storrs. It offers family therapy, co-parenting counseling, couple support, story stems, and conflict resolution sessions.
Town and State Support Organizations
Local network connecting area schools, daycares, town agencies; great website with listings of local information, resources.
Provides prevention, education, counseling for youth and families
Students and their families may be eligible for assistance with food, housing, insurance, or social services programs. DSS has an office at 676 Main St., Willimantic- applying in person speeds up the process considerably.
Useful statewide organization with information and advocacy resources for parents of children with special needs
Advocates for Children
The Mansfield Advocates for Children keeps a running calendar of upcoming child-friendly events around the Mansfield area: http://mansfieldadvocatesforchildren.org/index.php/things-to-do/calendar-of-events/
Visit the University’s cows, sheep, and horses, walk over Horsebarn Hill, and get some ice cream at the Dairy Bar
Swimming and fitness offerings for children and adults, including an open gym for young children most weekday mornings
Many local libraries have a slate of storytimes, programs, and special events for kids of all ages:
Concerts, plays, annual festival, summer movies, holiday events
Hiking, camping, beaches, facilities rentals
System of land preserves, many with hiking trails or accessible open space
Quester’s Way, Mansfield
Indoor playscape, cafe, classes in science, art, dance, fitness, martial arts
Outdoor activities and ropes course
Local Museums for Kids and Families
Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry, Storrs Center
The Children’s Museum, West Hartford
Connecticut Science Center, Hartford
Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History, New Haven
Eric Carle Museum, Amherst MA
Mystic Seaport, Mystic
Mystic Aquarium, Mystic
Old Sturbridge Village, Sturbridge MA
Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford
Submarine Force Museum, Groton
This playground is just off the UConn campus, behind the Mansfield Community Center
Bicentennial Pond, Mansfield (seasonal)
Patriot’s Park, Coventry
Adam’s Adventure, Tolland
Northwest Park, Manchester
Useful blogs, sites with ideas on more activities, especially seasonal fairs, orchards, festivals:
Visit Connecticut’s listing of family-friendly activities: http://www.visitconnecticut.com/state/family-activities/