Cutler Institute for Health and Social Policy

Children, Youth and Families

YLAT Youth Leadership Advisory Team: An Innovative Approach to Systems Improvement


The Youth Leadership Advisory Team (YLAT) brings together young people who are involved with the child welfare system and creates opportunities for them to learn and practice leadership and advocacy skills. YLAT is a three-way partnership including the Muskie School of Public Service at the University of Southern Maine, Maine's Department of Health and Human Services, and Maine's youth in care. Amid a comprehensive system reform, YLAT has been a guiding force and a clear voice. YLAT has enjoyed many successes and garnered attention--including requests for replication--across the nation. This paper grew from a desire to clearly articulate the YLAT model, both to aid other sites considering a similar approach and to help the team as they determine their strategies for YLAT's next decade of achievements.

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Publish Date: 
March 31, 2010

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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