Cutler Institute for Health and Social Policy

Children, Youth and Families

Family Support and Empowerment Projects

Many families share circumstances that require interaction with multiple government agencies and systems of support (e.g. working poor families, families with children with special needs, immigrant/refugee families, families involved in the child welfare system). Too often, however, the perspectives of these families are not heard in the policy arena. To better inform policymakers, we employ mixed methods, including participatory research with families, to gain a thorough understanding of the challenges families face in navigating these systems and how these challenges affect their ability to care for their children and balance work and family.  We apply our understanding of these needs to policy recommendations and a wide variety of workforce and organizational development initiatives (e.g. public assistance programs, including TANF, MaineCare, and Food Stamps, child support enforcement; education and child care). The following projects are examples of our work in this area.

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MYTC 2014 Celebration

Colby Swettberg, May 2014, MYTC

Every year the Maine Youth Transition Collaborative brings together youth and adult partners from around Maine to celebrate the year's achievements and milestones.

2014
MYTC’s fourth annual celebration dinner was held at the Brunswick Hotel and Tavern on May 13, 2014. Over seventy young adults, adult partners, professionals, legislators, adoptive families, and friends came together for an evening of fun, renewed connections, learning, and good food.

The importance of mentors in the lives of young people was the theme for the evening. The keynote speaker, Colby Swettberg, Executive Director of Adoption and Foster Care Mentoring in Boston, was introduced by Jacob Hills. Ms. Swettberg talked about what good mentor-mentee relationships look like for youth in foster care and led a discussion about best practices and challenges to bringing youth and mentors together.

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