Childhood immunization rates for Maine have declined since the mid-90's. One theory for the decline is that public awareness education was halted. The Maine Immunization Program (MIP) currently has two regional health educators and wishes to expand health education services to four regions. Further, both the MIP and the Maine CDC desire to understand from parents and caregivers the incentives and barriers to having their children age appropriately immunizated. Muskie staff will work collaboratively with the MIP on several fronts: <li>assist with preparing and managing an RFP process to expand health education services to two additional regions of Maine <li>plan and carry out survey(s) with parents of preschool children to identify both barriers to and incentives for getting children immunized <li>provide technical assistance to plan and implement additional evidence-based practices to improve age-appropriate immunization rates.</li><p></p> Data collected from the surveys will be used to help identify public health practices that are most likely to result in children who have age-appropriate immunizations, and to inform ongoing program planning priorities.
Cutler Institute for Health and Social Policy
Maine Immunization Program Survey and Technical Assistance
Cutler Institute awarded $600,000 to help youth raised in foster system
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.