Cutler Institute for Health and Social Policy

Children, Youth and Families

Tara Hembree

Training Specialist II
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12 E. Chestnut Street, Augusta

Contact Information

Phone: (207) 626-5213

Tara came to the Muskie School in 2005 from the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), where she was an eligibility specialist for 7 years. Tara worked in a variety of offices around the state with varying populations, which prepared her well for her job at Muskie. Tara is responsible for training new eligibility specialists on all policies and procedures relating to the MaineCare, Food Supplement, and Temporary Assistance to Needy Families programs administered through DHHS. Tara has expertise in the ACES computer system designed for Maine DHHS to determine client eligibility.  Tara trains new DHHS employees to navigate the ACES system so that they can provide excellent customer service and accurate benefits to their client population. In her spare time, Tara is working with DHHS staff and management as well as other Muskie employees to get the current classroom based training online. She has successfully delivered the first module of “Introduction” to three classes. The Food Supplement online curriculum is under development and will be ready for piloting by the end of this year. Tara has a husband and 6 year old son who loves music and keeps her busy. She also loves to knit and has an affinity for goats.

Nellie Mae Education Foundation nominates Pious Ali for the Lawrence W. O'Toole Award

Pious Ali

Pious Ali, Youth and Community Engagement Specialist in Cutler’s Children, Youth, and Families Programs, has been nominated for the Lawrence W. O’Toole Award by the Nellie Mae Education Foundation. Pious is one of six nominees from the New England states.

The Nellie Mae Education Foundation believes that student-centered learning – where learning is personalized, engaging, competency-based and not restricted to the classroom – will prepare young people to graduate high school ready to contribute to their communities and succeed. This award is given out each year to an individual, school district, or non-profit that has exhibited great leadership in moving student-centered approaches to learning forward in the New England region.

The winner will be selected by online voting and will be awarded a $100,000 grant to help advance student centered learning!


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MYTC 2014 Celebration

Colby Swettberg, May 2014, MYTC

Every year the Maine Youth Transition Collaborative brings together youth and adult partners from around Maine to celebrate the year's achievements and milestones.

MYTC’s fourth annual celebration dinner was held at the Brunswick Hotel and Tavern on May 13, 2014. Over seventy young adults, adult partners, professionals, legislators, adoptive families, and friends came together for an evening of fun, renewed connections, learning, and good food.

The importance of mentors in the lives of young people was the theme for the evening. The keynote speaker, Colby Swettberg, Executive Director of Adoption and Foster Care Mentoring in Boston, was introduced by Jacob Hills. Ms. Swettberg talked about what good mentor-mentee relationships look like for youth in foster care and led a discussion about best practices and challenges to bringing youth and mentors together.

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