Cutler Institute for Health and Social Policy

News: Children, Youth and Families

Picture: Penthea Burns, YLAT Director and Beth Yvonne, Director of Maine Youth Action Network
Maine Youth Action Network's (MYAN) Organization ImpACT Awards The Youth & Community Engagement Programs at USM's Muskie School of Public Service, Cutler Institute for Health and Social Policy was chosen as the recipient of the Maine Youth Action Network's (MYAN) Organization ImpACT Award. Pentha Burns accepted the award at the MYAN annual conference in Augusta on October 28th. Through the ImpACT Awards, MYAN recognizes and celebrates youth leadership and the support systems that empower youth. These awards showcase youth and adults who are making a positive impact on each other, their communities, and their worlds. Picture: Penthea Burns, YLAT Director and Beth Yvonne, Director of Maine Youth Action Network
Aspen youth 2014
We are excited to announce that in July, the Opportunity Youth Incentive Fund (OYIF) awarded a second grant to the Muskie School of Public Service and its partners who make up The Southern Maine Youth Transition Network (SMYTN). The Opportunity Youth Incentive Fund is managed by the Aspen Institute’s Forum for Community Solutions and is dedicated to connecting “Opportunity Youth” to education and employment.
Kris Sahonchik
Kris Sahonchik, Director of the Cutler Institute for Health and Social Policy, recently returned from several weeks in Russia on the 2014 US-Russia Social Expertise Exchange (SEE) program to enhance child protection, foster care, and adoption.
Nellie Mae Education Foundation Logo
The Nellie Mae Education Foundation has chosen Muskie to serve as the Lead Community Partner of its District Level Systems Change Initiative for the Portland Public School District.
Attean, training specialist at the USM Muskie School, has had her portrait added to artist Robert Shetterley’s gallery of Americans Who Tell the Truth, an initiative to promote models of courageous citizenship in schools and communities around the country.
This article, co-authored by Freda Bernotavicz, describes the child welfare leadership and competency models developed by the National Child Welfare Workforce Institute (NCWWI) and provides examples of how their application in a national training and capacity-building program has led to personal leadership development and systems change.
MRTQ director Sonja Howard has been named the lead for a BUILD Initiative grant received by the State of Maine to help shape the technical assistance program offered to its early care and youth education practitioners. Maine is one of only eight states chosen to participate in this national initiative.
Guide published by the National Child Welfare Resource Center for Organizational Improvement offers an overall framework for developing, implementing, and/or strengthening a child welfare practice model, helping child welfare agencies and their partners make informed choices in selecting their approaches to this important work.
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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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