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Sandra Butler

Professor of Social Work and Director of the School of Social Work, University of Maine
Chapter Member: Maine SSN
Areas of Expertise:

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About Sandra

Butler has expertise in financial security programs (such as welfare), health and well being for LGBTQ+ older adults, and long term care workforce issues, especially home care workers. Overarching themes in Butler's writings include factors associated with financial insecurity across the lifespan, the importance of supporting low wage direct care workers, and issues related to successful aging for older LGBTQ+ individuals. Butler has worked closely with the non profit Maine Equal Justice over her 30 year career in Maine and she currently sits on the advisory board of Maine Center for Economic Policy.

In the News

Opinion: "Maine’s Welfare Policies Have Taken a Turn, with Dire Consequences for Kids," Sandra Butler (with Luisa S. Deprez), Bangor Daily News, March 8, 2016.
Opinion: "‘Complete Streets’ Make Maine Communities More Walkable, Bikeable, Livable," Sandra Butler (with Susan Buzzell), Bangor Daily News, October 13, 2015.
Quoted by Elizabeth Stuart in "Will Kicking 1,600 off Welfare Inspire Arizona's Poor to Get Jobs?," Phoenix New Times, June 1, 2015.
Opinion: "Older, Poor Adults Get Short Shrift in LePage’s Budget Proposal," Sandra Butler, Bangor Daily News, March 17, 2015.
Opinion: "Same Bills, One-Third of the Income: A Maine Husband’s Death and the Loss of 3 Income Sources," Sandra Butler (with Luisa S. Deprez), Bangor Daily News, November 28, 2014.
Opinion: "'A Lot of Fears': A Richmond Woman’s Health Problems and 3 Months without Coverage," Sandra Butler (with Luisa S. Deprez), Bangor Daily News, October 24, 2014.
Opinion: "The Compassion Divide and Why It Should Worry All of Us – Not Just the Poor," Sandra Butler, Bangor Daily News, October 14, 2014.
Quoted by Mario Moretto in "Study Reveals Most Mainers Agree Poverty Caused by Outside Forces, Not Personal Decisions," Bangor Daily News, October 2, 2014.
Opinion: "Congratulations, Graduate! And Now about Repaying Your Debt," Sandra Butler (with Luisa S. Deprez), Bangor Daily News, June 27, 2014.
Opinion: "A Maine Family's Struggle to Beat Back Welfare Fraud Allegations," Sandra Butler (with Luisa S. Deprez), Bangor Daily News, May 2, 2014.
Opinion: "LePage's Latest Welfare 'Reforms' Didn't Succeed, but Damage from Earlier 'Reform' is Done," Sandra Butler, Bangor Daily News, April 29, 2014.
Opinion: "How a Milo Man is Raising Grandson after the Death of Wife, Loss of Income," Sandra Butler (with Luisa S. Deprez), Bangor Daily News, March 28, 2014.
Opinion: "First a Parent, Then a Scholar: How This Maine Woman Finally Completed College," Sandra Butler (with Luisa S. Deprez), Bangor Daily News, February 21, 2014.
Opinion: "Going Back to College at 50, and Why It's a Dream Come True," Sandra Butler (with Luisa S. Deprez), Bangor Daily News, January 24, 2014.
Opinion: "Could Your Family Live on $1.40 per Meal?," Sandra Butler (with Luisa S. Deprez), Bangor Daily News, December 27, 2013.
Opinion: "Without Medicaid, What Will Happen to this Portland Man?," Sandra Butler (with Luisa S. Deprez), Bangor Daily News, November 29, 2013.
Opinion: "Despite Historic Changes, It Still Can be Scary to be Old and Gay," Sandra Butler (with Nancy Kelly), Bangor Daily News, November 12, 2013.
Research discussed by Mike Tipping, in "Once LePage Showed Compassion; Now All He Does is Urge Cuts," Portland Press Herald, September 14, 2013.
Opinion: "Maine Needs More Home Care Workers. Give Them Better Pay, Benefits," Sandra Butler, Bangor Daily News, July 9, 2013.
Interviewed in Interview on Mark Johnson Show WDEV FM 96.1 AM 550's The Mark Johnson Show, March 21, 2013.
Opinion: "Investing in Maine's Future: The Case for the Competitive Skills Scholarship Program," Sandra Butler (with Luisa S. Deprez and John Dorrer), Bangor Daily News, February 26, 2013.
Opinion: "We Can Do Better: Harsh Consequences of TANF Time Limits," Sandra Butler, Bangor Daily News, February 19, 2013.
Opinion: "Home Care Workers Deserve Respect and Fair Pay," Sandra Butler, Bangor Daily News, October 2, 2012.
Opinion: "Understanding the Welfare System – with Facts," Sandra Butler, Bangor Daily News, January 29, 2011.
Guest on State of the State, January 24, 2011.
Opinion: "Medicaid Program Invests in Our Community Health," Sandra Butler, Bangor Daily News, March 15, 2008.
Opinion: "Parents as Scholars Program Threatened," Sandra Butler (with Julie Harris), Bangor Daily News, April 9, 2002.
Opinion: "Equal Pay for Women," Sandra Butler (with Stephanie Seguino), Bangor Daily News, April 3, 1998.


"Older Women Taking Care of Older Women: The Rewards and Challenges of the Home Care Aide Job" (with Sara Wardamasky and Mark Brennan-Ing). Journal of Women & Aging 24, no. 3 (2012): 194-215.
This article looks at the job experiences of home care workers with a particular focus on older women, who are frequently the carers of elder frail women.
"Why Do They Leave? Factors Associated with Job Termination among Personal Assistant Workers in Home Care" (with Nan Simpson, Mark Brennan, and Winston Turner). Journal of Gerontological Social Work 57, no. 8 (2010): 665-681.
Explores factors related to turnover among home care workers – a group of workers who are very low paid, but essential to our long-term care system.
"Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender (GLBT) Elders: The Challenges and Resilience of This Marginalized Group" Journal of Human Behavior in the Social Environment 9, no. 4 (2009): 25-44.
Discusses the invisibility of the elder gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender population and the consequences of a marginalized status in terms of poor health and reduced health service access.
"Something Worth Fighting for: Higher Education for Women on Welfare" (with Luisa S. Deprez). Affilia: Journal of Women & Social Work 17, no. 1 (2002): 30-54.
Describes the positive experiences of participants of a state program (Parents as Scholars) in Maine which allows women on welfare to pursue higher education.
"Working in Coalition: Advocates and Academics Join Together to Promote Progressive Welfare Policies" (with Stephanie Seguino). Journal of Community Practice 7, no. 4 (2000): 1-20.
Describes a successful coalition of advocates and scholars in defeating punitive welfare policies at state the state level after passage of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act.
"Pathways to Homelessness among Middle-Aged Women" (with Richard A. Weatherley). Women & Politics 15, no. 3 (1995): 1-22.
Reports on a qualitative study of eleven middle-aged home women, discussing the circumstances that led to their homelessness and how public policies fail to protect women from impoverishment after common life events.