Cutler Institute for Health and Social Policy

Disability and Aging

Maine's Community Living Program: Implementation and Outcomes


Over the last five years, options counseling has evolved from a general set of activities and functions within Area Agencies on Aging and Aging & Disability Resource Centers (AAAs/ADRCs) to a more standardized and generally accepted role within the Aging Network. With the award of the Community Living Program (CLP) grant in 2009, Maine proposed to develop more consistent methods for identifying people at risk of residential facility placement and to begin to develop standards for the options counseling functions. In 2010, Maine was also awarded an Options Counseling Standards Grant which has provided support for furthering the work started under the CLP grant.

Muskie School staff developed a Consumer Satisfaction Survey, A Survey of Options Counselors and Options Counselor Manager/Supervisor Survey. Results of the surveys and data from the follow-up form developed by the Steering Committee are included in the Outcomes section of this report. Muskie staff also conducted the evaluation of Maine's Options Counseling Standards Grant. The results of this evaluation are organized into two main sections: Implementation of Options Counseling which examines the processes, protocols and practices that were developed , and Outcomes which examines the implementation of the options counseling services along four dimensions:

  • Consumer Outcomes;
  • Staff Outcomes;
  • Organizational Outcomes; and
  • System Outcomes.

Suggested citation:

Fralich J, Richards M, Olsen L. Maine's Community Living Program: Implementation and Outcomes. Portland, ME: University of Southern Maine, Muskie School of Public Service; December 2011.

Publication Type: 
Publish Date: 
December 30, 2011

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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