Cutler Institute for Health and Social Policy

Children, Youth and Families

Rebecca (Becky) Harvey, L.S.W.

Director of Workforce Development
Image unavailable for Rebecca (Becky) Harvey, L.S.W.

Office

12 E. Chestnut Street, Augusta

Contact Information

Phone: (207) 626-5266

Becky is responsible for oversight and compliance with terms of a comprehensive staff education and training contract with the Maine Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Office for Family Independence. She is an experienced project manager, now leading a team of Muskie staff who provide an array of training for staff, management, and senior leadership in areas of public welfare, including eligibility, child support enforcement, and disability determination services. Before coming to Muskie, she worked more than two decades within Maine DHHS, and since 2000, has worked with DHHS partners and other stakeholders through her positions at the Muskie School. At Muskie, Becky has provided leadership and operational management in several state/university partnerships, overseeing funding, staffing, projects, deliverables, and the dissemination of information for child welfare and public welfare training. Becky also has directed the design of curricula and the implementation of classroom-based and blended training programs and evaluation.

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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