Cutler Institute for Health and Social Policy

Children, Youth and Families

Gretchen Robbins, M.S.

Senior Policy Associate


12 E. Chestnut Street, Augusta

Contact Information

Phone: (207) 626-5224

Gretchen is a Senior Policy Associate at the Cutler Institute for Health and Social Policy at the Muskie School of Public Service. She is the lead for providing training and technical assistance to States and Tribes in Training Systems and coordinates the Peer Training Network for the National Child Welfare Resource Center for Organizational Improvement (NRCOI). She also works with supervisors in building leadership skills as an instructor for the National Child Welfare Workforce Institute, Leadership Academy for Supervisors.

In her current position, and as a former director of the Muskie School’s Child Welfare Training Institute, a prior collaborative effort between the University of Southern Maine and the Maine Department of Health and Human Services, her primary focus is on promoting best practice in child welfare through engaging practitioners, supervisors, and managers in positive change toward meeting outcomes for children, youth, and families. With over 30 years of child welfare experience, Gretchen appreciates sharing state of the art practices with those continuing to do the extremely important work of child welfare. She knows that she is making a difference for children and families. 


  • Master of Science, Human Development, University of Maine
  • Bachelor of Science, Child Development, University of Maine

Areas of expertise: facilitation, coaching, curriculum development, training delivery.

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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