Cutler Institute for Health and Social Policy

Maine Rural Health Research Center, Population Health and Health Policy

Gale elected to NRHA Board of Trustees

N R H A

John Gale was elected to the National Rural Health Association’s (NRHA) Board of Trustees as chair of the Research and Education Constituency Group.  He serves on the Board along with the elected chair of each designated constituency group, the chair of the State Association Council, the chair of the State Office Council, the chair of the Rural Health Policy Congress, the elected officers of the association, and the executive director of NRHA. The Board of Trustees has responsibility for the supervision, control and direction of the affairs of the NRHA; determines its policies or changes therein within the limits of the bylaws; actively pursues its purposes; maintains policies for the conduct of its business as deemed advisable; and may, in the execution of the powers granted appoint such agents as it considers necessary.

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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