Cutler Institute for Health and Social Policy

Children, Youth and Families

Great Expectations: Implementing a High-Stakes Testing Program in Maine


This paper describes the initial inception and development of a child welfare pre-service testing program in Maine. In 2007, the Maine Office of Child and Family Services (OCFS) and the University of Southern Maine began to develop a high-stakes test that child welfare trainees must successfully complete prior to securing employment in the regional offices. The purpose of the program was to ensure that trainees graduated with sufficient mastery of child welfare fundamentals, and to increase credibility of the profession and training program. One of the main objectives of test development was to create a comprehensive set of assessment tools that could reflect the considerable range of job expectations on the typical caseworker. This came to include a knowledge test, skill assessment and field practice review. This paper will review the early accomplishments and challenges in developing a multi-]layered testing program.

Publication Type: 
Report (Conference Paper)
Publish Date: 
January 1, 2009

Nellie Mae Education Foundation nominates Pious Ali for the Lawrence W. O'Toole Award

Pious Ali

Pious Ali, Youth and Community Engagement Specialist in Cutler’s Children, Youth, and Families Programs, has been nominated for the Lawrence W. O’Toole Award by the Nellie Mae Education Foundation. Pious is one of six nominees from the New England states.

The Nellie Mae Education Foundation believes that student-centered learning – where learning is personalized, engaging, competency-based and not restricted to the classroom – will prepare young people to graduate high school ready to contribute to their communities and succeed. This award is given out each year to an individual, school district, or non-profit that has exhibited great leadership in moving student-centered approaches to learning forward in the New England region.

The winner will be selected by online voting and will be awarded a $100,000 grant to help advance student centered learning!


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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.

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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