Following up on the Environmental Scan report (http://muskie.usm.maine.edu/Publications/rural/Barriers-to-Integration-E...), the authors interviewed representatives from Maine's business community, payers, purchasers, professional associations, state legislators, advocacy organizations, state government, and provider organizations. The interviews provided a context to understand the barriers to integration in Maine and develop recommendations to overcome them. This Final Report presents key findings from the study, recommendations for addressing barriers, and next steps for moving forward. This study recognizes the need for integration of behavioral and physical health services in all settings. Although most discussions of integration focus on the development of behavioral health services in primary care settings, this study acknowledges the challenges faced by individuals with chronic and/or severe behavioral health problems in obtaining vital physical and primary health care.
Cutler Institute for Health and Social Policy
Maine Barriers to Integration Study: The View from Maine on the Barriers to Integrated Care and Recommendations for Moving Forward
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.