Cutler Institute for Health and Social Policy

Children, Youth and Families

Laura Dyer, B.A.

Research Analyst


332H Wishcamper Center

Contact Information

Phone: (207) 228-8343

Laura supports senior staff at the National Child Welfare Resource Center for Organizational Improvement (NRCOI) in their work to provide training and technical assistance (T/TA) to states and tribes. Laura enjoys working on the NRCOI's national research efforts, bringing together descriptive information, resources, and materials from child welfare staff and administrators to support T/TA. She assists with the coordination of the NRCOI’s Peer Networks, publications, national webinars and conferences, social networking sites, and requests for information from child welfare staff. Having previously worked on the Violence Against Women Act Measuring Effectiveness Initiative, Laura assisted in the collection and analysis of data on grants administered by the Office on Violence Against Women.

Laura considers herself lucky to have the opportunity to work with such talented and passionate individuals, both on the NRCOI team and from within child welfare agencies.


  • Bachelor of Arts, Communication, University of Southern Maine
  • Certificate of Graduate Study in Applied Research and Evaluation Methods, Muskie School of Public Service

Research interests:  children, youth, and families; child welfare and domestic violence, mental health, juvenile justice, and the courts; organizational improvement; leadership.


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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