Cutler Institute for Health and Social Policy

Children, Youth and Families

Maine Roads to Quality (MRTQ) chosen to lead state BUILD Initiative

Maine Roads to Quality LogoMaine Roads to Quality director Sonja Howard has been named the lead for a BUILD Initiative grant received by the State of Maine to help shape the technical assistance program offered to its early care and youth education practitioners.

The grant creates state teams that will engage in a structured dialogue with one another and with national experts to assess their current state technical assistance systems on four levels: early learning programs, technical assistance professionals, supervisor/sponsoring agencies, and state administration. State teams also will work to develop implementation plans to establish a more effective and efficient technical assistance system that can promote high quality early care and learning programs and achieve better outcomes for children. Maine is one of only eight states chosen to participate in this national initiative.

In addition, Maine Roads to Quality recently has been awarded a 21-month, $2.2 million contract from the Office of Child and Family Services, Maine Department of Health and Human Services, to improve the quality of early care and education settings in Maine through a statewide professional development system. The primary objectives of this effort include support for programs to advance Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS) steps, the distribution of scholarship funds to increase the professional development of practitioners in the field of early care and education, tracking professional development through one centralized provider registry for the State of Maine, and collaboration with other agencies in the state to support a network of services to support early care and education programs in Maine.

Through these two initiatives, Maine Roads to Quality is working to fulfill its goal of providing all families and children with access to a choice of quality child care options across diverse settings that meet their unique developmental, cultural, and linguistic needs.

Maine Roads to Quality (MRTQ) is a project of the Children, Youth & Families program at the USM Muskie School’s Cutler Institute of Health and Social Policy. Working with various partners across the state, including Maine’s Higher Education System, MRTQ strives to promote and support professionalism in the early care and education field.

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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