Cutler Institute for Health and Social Policy

Population Health and Health Policy, Maine Rural Health Research Center

Federal Health Care Reform: An Overview [Policy Brief]


This policy brief discusses three of the main components of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as "Obamacare".  These components are helath insurance coverage, delivery system improvement, and cost containment.  The policy brief highlights some of the provision of the law that have already been implemented and those where importnat implementation decisions will have to be made.  The brief is authored by Dr. Andrew Coburn, PhD, Professor of Public Health and Director of the Population Health and Health Policy program at the USM Muskie School, and was presented at the Maine Policy Leaders Academy Health Care Forum breakfast session, Feb. 26, 2013 at the Senator Inn in Augusta,sponsored by the Maine Health Access Foundation.

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Publication Type: 
Research and Policy Brief
Publish Date: 
February 26, 2013

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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