Cutler Institute for Health and Social Policy

Disability and Aging

A Compendium of Three Discussion Papers: Strategies for Promoting and Improving the Direct Service Workforce: Applications to Home and Community-Based Services

Abstract: 

This is a compendium of three discussion papers on the topics of direct service workers in long-term care and strategies for improving the quality of their jobs and services.
<li>The first paper, <i>Home and Community-Based Services: Workforce and Quality Outcomes</i> describes HCBS programs, the direct service workforce, recommended practices for improving quality, and discusses possible approaches for integrating workforce initiatives into HCBS quality management systems.
<li><i>What is the Impact of Unions on Quality of Care?</i> discusses effects of unionization on wages, turnover, and quality care and provides an overview of Service Employees International Union (SEIU) initiatives in key states.
<li><i>Health Coverage for Direct Care Workers, Emerging Strategies</i> discusses work being done to make health insurance benefits more accessible and affordable to individuals working in direct-care and support jobs. The discussion of recent grant-funded projects and initiatives to raise awareness and to implement policies and programs provides a summary of models being used in a number of states.</li>
The papers are not meant to be inclusive for all sectors of the direct care and direct support workforce, nor are they an exhaustive review of the research and demonstration literature. They are meant to provide insight and resource information that highlight current issues and approaches for building and maintaining a quality direct service workforce.

Publication Type: 
Report
Publish Date: 
May 30, 2008
URL: 
http://www.cshp.rutgers.edu/cle/Products/Workforce%20Compendium%20FINAL.doc

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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