Cutler Institute for Health and Social Policy

Population Health and Health Policy

Policy Leaders Academy: Legislative Forum on Healthcare

1/1/2006 - 1/2/2007
Andrew Coburn
Principal Investigator: 
Andrew Coburn

With funding from the Maine Health Access Foundation, Muskie School faculty and staff worked with the Maine Development Foundation and the Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center at the University of Maine to develop and deliver a day-long educational forum for the Maine legislature on health care on January 26, 2007. In addition to a keynote address by Dr. Karen Davis from the Commonwealth Fund, breakout sessions with accompanying Issue Briefs were held on a variety of topics including Medicaid, rural health, workforce, health information technology, state health reform, Maine?s Dirigo health reform initiative, behavioral health, public health, and Maine?s aging population. All Issue Briefs and presentations from the Forum are available for viewing and download from the Muskie School?s website at http://muskie.usm

Start Date: 
Sun, 2006-01-01
End Date: 
Tue, 2007-01-02
Legacy Muskie ID: 

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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