Cutler Institute for Health and Social Policy

Disability and Aging

Scott Bernier, M.S.

Project Assistant II


12 E. Chestnut Street, Augusta

Contact Information

Phone: (207) 626-5280

Scott Bernier joined the USM Muskie School’s Center for Learning (CFL) in 1998. He is the main point of contact for the state’s adult mental health certification programs: Mental Health Support Specialist (MHSS), Mental Health Rehabilitation Technician I (MHRT I), MHRT/Community (MHRT/C), and MHRT/Crisis Service Provider (MHRT/CSP). In this capacity, he is in daily contact with agencies and the general public by email, phone, and in person, answering questions in regards to the certification process. He performs the first review of all MHRT applications and keeps track of where all applications are in the process. He maintains all certification records, both paper and electronic, and serves as the CFL’s webmaster (

Scott oversees the MHRT/C Tuition Reimbursement and the Office of Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services (SAMHS)-mental health employee workshop allocation programs. For both of these programs, he tracks budgets, reviews applications, sends out payments, and submits monthly reports. In addition, he provides logistical support for CFL-sponsored trainings and meetings, which range from small groups to large two-day conferences for several hundred people with multiple breakout sessions.

Outside of Muskie, Scott is very active with the Boy Scouts of America, providing support to scout volunteers in five Maine counties.


  • Bachelor of Science, Meteorology, Plymouth State University
  • Master of Science, Atmospheric Science, Texas Tech University

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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