Cutler Institute for Health and Social Policy

Population Health and Health Policy

Active Living Supplemental

Duration: 
1/1/2007 - 1/31/2008
Director: 
Anush Yousefian Hansen
Principal Investigator: 
David Hartley
Abstract: 

The proposed project will build upon the three currently funded rural ALR projects to develop, refine and test a rural-specific environmental audit tool that can be used by policymakers, program staff, planners and researchers to assess the degree to which the natural and built environment of a rural community supports active living. Although the Active Living Research Program of the RWJ foundation has developed and disseminated several such instruments, these tools have been developed specifically
for urban and suburban settings. Thus, a major challenge in our current work has been the adaptation of these instruments to small rural communities where many elements of these instruments are not relevant, but where other physical features of the environment are applicable.

Start Date: 
Mon, 2007-01-01
End Date: 
Thu, 2008-01-31
Legacy Muskie ID: 
4569

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.

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