The Rural Health Research Centers at the Universities of Minnesota, North Carolina-Chapel Hill, and Southern Maine (the Flex Monitoring Team), are the recipients of a 5-year cooperative agreement award from the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy to continue to monitor and evaluate the Medicare Rural Hospital Flexibility Grant Program (Flex Program). The Flex Monitoring Team will continue to develop relevant quality, financial and community impact performance measures and reporting systems to help state and federal policy makers and rural health care providers understand the impact of the Flex Program. The Team's research will assess the impact of the Flex program on rural hospitals and communities and examine the ability of the State Offices of Rural Health to achieve overall Flex Program objectives. These objectives include improving access to quality health care services; improving the financial and administrative performance of Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs); and engaging rural communities in health care system development.
Cutler Institute for Health and Social Policy
National Rural Hospital Flexibility Monitoring Project [Flex Monitoring Team Project]
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.