Cutler Institute for Health and Social Policy

Children, Youth and Families

Annette M. Wilson, J.D.

Research Associate
Annette M. Wilson, J.D.


12 E. Chestnut Street, Augusta

Contact Information

Phone: (207) 626-5285

Annette M. Wilson, J.D., is a research associate and curriculum developer at the USM Muskie School. She has extensive experience developing curriculum for specialized populations, including foster and adoptive parents and direct care workers. Annette has delivered training to a wide variety of audiences, including more than 2,000 foster and adoptive parents, children’s transportation providers, children’s mental health case managers, Guardians ad Litem, and child welfare caseworkers. Most recently, Annette has worked on Maine’s Direct Service Worker Training Program to provide technical assistance and “real-life” perspective, as well as developed curriculum for child welfare caseworkers in Colorado. Annette has served as a CASA volunteer and Guardian ad Litem in child protective cases in both Alaska and Maine and brings her personal experience as a foster and adoptive parent and advocate to her professional roles.   


  • FAMILYSHARE Video, 2011(Producer)


  • Working with Military Families: Special Considerations for Child Welfare Caseworkers (online training for Colorado Department of Human Services)
  • Kinship Issues in Foster Care and Adoption, 2010
  • Children’s Transportation Customer Service Training Curriculum, 2007
  • Resiliency in Foster Care: Can Our Kids Bounce Back?, 2005

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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