Cutler Institute for Health and Social Policy

Disability and Aging

Jenny MacKenzie

Policy Analyst
Jenny MacKenzie

Office

438D Wishcamper Center

Contact Information

Phone: (207) 780-4525

 Jenny MacKenzie is a Policy Analyst within the Disability & Aging Program area. She has extensive experience in the facilitation of a state-wide patient experience survey, Maine Patient Experience Matters, and helped in the development of a website to publicly report the data. Jenny has conducted literature reviews in support of several projects, including the Shared Decision-Making project and the Maine Chronic Conditions analysis. She has co-authored an infection prevention curriculum for long-term care facilities and a report analyzing the changes in survey scores for the patient experience project. She has experience developing and implementing data collection protocols, designing and using database management systems, and analyzing policy options based on evidence-based strategies.

Jenny has a Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology from Brandeis University.

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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