Cutler Institute for Health and Social Policy

Maine Rural Health Research Center

Mental Health Problems Have Considerable Impact on Rural Children and Their Families

Abstract: 

Mental health problems have considerable impact on children and their families and some of these impacts are higher in rural than urban areas. Rural children are slightly but significantly more likely to have a mental health problem than urban children, are more likely to have a behavioral difficulty, and are more likely to be usually or always affected by their condition. Compared to urban children, rural children are more likely to go without access to all parent-reported needed mental health services and their families spend more time coordinating their care. This working paper and policy brief provide information on prevalence of children's mental health needs and associated access to care and family impact across rural and urban areas. Analyses are based on the 2005-06 National Survey of Children with Special Health Care Needs.

Publication Type: 
Research and Policy Brief
Publish Date: 
October 7, 2010
URL: 
http://muskie.usm.maine.edu/Publications/rural/pb/mental-health-problems-rural-children-family-impact.pdf

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.

Connect With Us