About Us

About Us 2018-06-14T11:19:40+00:00

Founded in 1998 by Amy Lemley and Deanne Pearn, First Place for Youth’s mission is to help foster kids build the skills they need to make a successful transition to self-sufficiency and responsible adulthood. We take a “double bottom line” approach to our mission:

  • Provide results-driven direct service to young people who need support in pursuing their goals; and
  • Advocate for public policies that will improve the lives of as many foster kids as possible

Our direct service work informs our advocacy efforts, and our advocacy helps create environments that promote stability and success. Through this approach First Place has helped to fundamentally reshape the landscape for foster kids in California, starting with the creation of the state housing program (known as THP-Plus) in 2001. Now, through our My First PlaceTM Affiliate Network, First Place is working to change the landscape for more foster kids than ever by supporting other organizations in the implementation of our program model.

First Place has provided me with the most stability I’ve ever had. My team was always there to push and guide me each step of the way.

Ayanna, Program Alumna
My First Place team have been there for me through a lot. I talk to them about everything, and I know I can go to them for anything
Lawrence, Program Alum

Learn more about the organization:


Since our founding 20 years ago, First Place has grown to serve 1,500 young people annually. See how we got from there to here.

Browse the Timeline


First Place relies on an experienced, mission-driven leadership team, overseen by our Board of Directors, to drive our work and ensure we are providing the highest quality services to our program participants.

Our Board


First Place for Youth is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization funded by a diverse network of individuals and families, foundations, corporations, and government agencies.