Cutler Institute for Health and Social Policy

Disability and Aging

About Disability & Aging

Disability and Aging staff are committed to making sure public resources are used to their best effect in helping older adults and adults with disabilities live healthy, active, secure and engaged lives.  We work with state and federal policymakers and service providers to improve programs and services for older adults, and adults with disabilities, particularly the most vulnerable.  Our work focuses on long term services and supports, the people that deliver these services, the delivery systems through which they are accessed, and the people that receive services. 

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Areas of Focus

Medicaid Policy Young Man at laptopMedicaid Policy and Operations

We provide a range of policy and operational supports to help state leaders improve and manage long term services and supports.  Our work includes quality assurance, payment systems, functional assessment systems, data analytics and policy research.  We customize our work to the unique state policy environment and leverage existing tools and resources to develop cost-effective solutions.   

Woman Elderly Systems ReformDelivery System Reform

We give state and federal policymakers and service providers the information they need to implement effective integrated models of care for those with complex care needs.  We help design and implement improvements to long term services and supports, with a focus on promoting the sustainability and cost-effectiveness of public programs and improving the quality of care for service recipients.

Trainer and BoyWorkforce and Organizational Improvement

We work with state leaders and program managers to develop their workforce, and plan and implement projects that improve system capacity and outcomes.  Recently we developed an innovative training program that streamlines training and credentialing across multiple direct service job titles and programs.  We also provide customized technical assistance to help state policymakers plan for and implement new programs, policies or systems.

Man with caneHealth and Well-Being

Through technical assistance, research and evaluation, we identify ways to improve the health and well-being of older adults and adults with disabilities.  Our work focuses on prevention and early intervention, improving the delivery and quality of care and services, and achieving better outcomes.  Our expertise extends across populations and settings, including dementia care, mental health and substance abuse services, adult protective services and other health and social services. 

Cutler Institute awarded $600,000 to help youth raised in foster system

Marty Zanghi

USM's Cutler Institute for Health and Social Policy has been awarded a $600,000 grant to help young people raised in Maine's foster system to prepare for college and the workforce.

The money comes from the Annie E. Casey Foundation as part of a $5.4 million national effort aimed at youth who are homeless or in either the foster care or juvenile justice systems.

"Many of these young people have suffered abuse or trauma and were raised in poverty and neglect," said Marty Zanghi, the Cutler Center's youth development director.

The money -- including an expected $400,000 more in matching funds -- will pay for contracted work with agencies in the target areas, starting with the greater Portland area and Penobscot, Kennebec and Somerset counties.

Nationally and in Maine, only about 3 percent of people who grow up in the foster care system achieve a college degree, he said.

"It's dramatically lower than the rate for the general population," Zanghi said. "It's a horrible outcome."

It doesn't have to be that way, though.

"There are young people that overcome these circumstances," he said. "I know people who have master's degrees and Ph.Ds."

The Casey Foundation's national effort is being called the "Learn and Earn to Achieve Potential" (LEAP) initiative.

The initiative is working on partnerships in Maine and nine other areas: Alaska, Arizona, California, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska and New York. In each case, people will adapt two evidence-based models to meet the needs of these youth, including support to address the trauma they may have experienced in their lives.

In Maine, the work will include a pair of successful programs, Jobs for Maine Graduates (JMG) and Jobs for the Future. Results will be carefully tracked, Zanghi said.

After the first year, the program is expected to grow.

"Eventually, the additional help will be available to all children, 14 and over, in the foster care system in the state of Maine," Zanghi said.

Adults with Intellectual Disabilities or Autism Spectrum Disorder: Population and Service Use Trends in Maine 2014 Chartbook

Adults with Intellectual Diabilities or ASD Chartbook

Adults with Intellectual Disability or Autism Spectrum Disorder: Population and Service Use Trends in Maine, 2014 Edition provides a detailed look at the historical trends and current utilization and cost of institutional and community based services for adults with intellectual disability or autism spectrum disorder.

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Dementia in Maine

Dementia in Maine

As the oldest state in the nation, Maine faces the impending impact of Alzheimer’s disease on its social systems, community resources, and its health and long term care systems. This report provides a baseline picture of the current use of services by people with and without dementia in Maine. Learn more in Dementia in Maine: Characteristics, Care, and Cost Across Settings.

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Report on Maine's Older Adults

With the aging of Maine’s population and its status as the oldest state in the nation, the use of long term services continues to be a critical public policy issue in the state and nationally. Learn more in Older Adults and Adults With Disabilities: Population and Service Use Trends in Maine, 2012 Edition.

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