Cutler Institute for Health and Social Policy

Disability and Aging

Mark Richards

Research Analyst II
Mark Richards

Office

432G Wishcamper Center

Contact Information

Phone: (207) 780-4527

Mark Richards is a Research Analyst within the Cutler Institute’s Disability and Aging program area.   Mark has extensive experience in conducting qualitative evaluations of a range of programs, including those focused on long term services and support, individuals with physical disabilities, individuals with Alzheimer’s disease, consumer direction, disability and employment, community support, and transition from nursing homes to home‐based settings. He has significant experience in the coordination and management of evaluation activities, including the development of evaluation designs and work plans, the collection of qualitative and quantitative data, site visit protocols, literature reviews, focus group facilitation, and the analysis of qualitative and quantitative data. Mark is skilled in interviewing and facilitating focus groups with caregivers, elders, individuals with disabilities, service providers and business leaders.

Mark has a B.S. from the University of Southern Maine.

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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