Cutler Institute for Health and Social Policy

Population Health and Health Policy

State Licensure Laws and the Mental Health Professions: Implications for the Rural Mental Health Workforce. Executive Summary


It is well-established that rural communities suffer disproportionatley from a shortage of mental health professionals. Non-physician mental health professionals include psychologists, social workers, marriage and family therapists, and licensed professional counselors. This study investigates whether and to what extent licensure laws that determine the permissible scope of practice for each of these professions may affect the availability of mental health services. This study examines licensure statutes and administrative rules for these professions in all states with at least ten percent of the population living in rural areas (total of 40 states). To determine scope of practice for each of these mental health professions, we examined their legal authority to provide five core mental health services: assessment, diagnosis, treatment planning, individual and group counseling, and psychotherapy. Since prescriptive authority had not been granted to any of these professions at the time of our study, this function was excluded from our analysis.

Publication Type: 
Publish Date: 
May 1, 2002

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