Cutler Institute for Health and Social Policy

About Children, Youth, and Families (CYF)

The Cutler Institute Children, Youth, and Families Program advances the well-being of children and families by improving the public and private systems that serve them. We work to include the voices of children, youth and families, and to engage community. Our approach empowers and strengthens the clients we serve. We have earned a national reputation for excellence in research, policy development, program evaluation, training, and technical assistance.

CYF People

Areas of Focus

Child Welfare Child Welfare

We engage with state, local and tribal child welfare agencies and courts to help them develop and implement sustainable systemic reforms aimed at improving outcomes for children, youth and families. Contact Peter Watson for more information.

Early Childhood Care and Education Early Childhood Care and Education

We conduct training, technical assistance, and applied research to inform early care and education practices at the national, state and local levels for state government, local schools and child care agencies. Contact Sonja Howard for more information.

Family Support and EmpowermentFamily Support and Independence

The Cutler Institute provides training and technical assistance to Maine human services staff who help families find the public services they need to get back on their feet. We bring classroom and online solutions to the policy and practice-related workforce development needs of public agency staff at all levels of the organization. Contact Sue Ebersten for more information.

Organizational Improvement

Organizational Improvement

We help agencies and Tribes develop their workforce, plan and implement projects that increase system capacity, build continuous quality improvement systems (CQI), and improve long-term outcomes through strategic planning. Contact Kris Sahonchik for more information.

Youth and Community EngagementYouth and Community Engagement

Youth and Community Engagement program staff work with state, local, and tribal agencies, as well as youth and key community stakeholders, to enhance the capacity of systems and communities to bring about improved outcomes for Maine’s young people. Contact Marty Zanghi for more information.

CYF Publications


Nellie Mae Education Foundation nominates Pious Ali for the Lawrence W. O'Toole Award

Pious Ali

Pious Ali, Youth and Community Engagement Specialist in Cutler’s Children, Youth, and Families Programs, has been nominated for the Lawrence W. O’Toole Award by the Nellie Mae Education Foundation. Pious is one of six nominees from the New England states.

The Nellie Mae Education Foundation believes that student-centered learning – where learning is personalized, engaging, competency-based and not restricted to the classroom – will prepare young people to graduate high school ready to contribute to their communities and succeed. This award is given out each year to an individual, school district, or non-profit that has exhibited great leadership in moving student-centered approaches to learning forward in the New England region.

The winner will be selected by online voting and will be awarded a $100,000 grant to help advance student centered learning!


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New Jersey's Manage By Data Program: Changing Culture and Capacity to Improve Outcomes

Photo of the cover of New Jersey's Manage By Data Program: Changing Culture and Capacity to Improve Outcomes

This report, authored by Muskie School of Public Service researchers David Lambert and Julie Atkins, presents five strategies that organizations can follow to change their culture by moving toward data-driven decision making.

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Muskie Public Health Graduate Students Present at Maine CDC Conference

MPH graduate student Trevey Davis describing the academic program to a conference attendee at Maine CDC Division of Infectious Disease Annual Conference.

The Muskie School of Public Service, Graduate Program in Public Health, and the Maine Public Health Institute exhibited at the Maine CDC Division of Infectious Disease Annual Conference and the concurrent Immunization Annual Conference.  Practice faculty member, Judy Tupper, DHEd, CHES, CPPS and MPH graduate student Trevey Davis spoke with many of the 500 public health professionals attending the conferences.  In addition, Muskie Public Health Education Corps members Carissa Parent, Jacey Keller, and Nikki Busmanis, (MPH graduate students) presented a research poster based on their recent Lyme disease educational intervention pilot in Maine schools.  Dr. Tupper also presented a poster regarding the results of the online training pilot program for Maine EMS personnel on the topic of infection control and prevention.  Educating Fifth Graders on Tick- and Mosquito-Borne Diseases and Prevention Methods" at the Maine CDC Division of Infectious Disease Annual Conference.

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Justice Research

Cover: Maine Crime and Justice Data Book 2014

Using the most recent public safety, corrections, and court data available, the Maine Crime and Justice Data Book presents a portrait of the state's crime and justice indicators, including 10-year trends in Maine and comparisons with northern New England and the U.S. at large.

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