For the more than 25,000 young people across the United States who transition out of foster care into adulthood each year, the future can be perilous and uncertain. Having gone without the consistent support of family to guide them in developing life skills and building a a foundation for success, foster kids too often fall prey to homelessness, unemployment, and poverty.
40% of former foster kids will experience homelessness
25% will be arrested or incarcerated
54% will drop out of high school
Fewer than 5% will earn a bachelor’s degree
However, with the right support, more is possible for foster kids. At First Place for Youth, we help foster kids beat the odds. Our programs provide vulnerable young people with the tools they need to reach their full potential in school, work, and life.
My First Place
My First PlaceTM is a nationally-recognized education and employment program model that employs housing and case management supports to enable youth to develop a sense of permanency and build the skills they need for a successful transition to self-sufficiency.
Participants are assigned to a team of program staff, consisting of a Youth Advocate (a master’s-level social worker), an Education and Employment Specialist, and a Housing Specialist. With the support of this team, and within the program-embedded Steps to Success and Healthy Transitions frameworks, each young person works to identify, plan for, and achieve their personal long-term goals in education, employment, housing, and healthy living.
We believe that having a safe place to call home is a stabilizing factor that enables youth to focus on their education and employment goals, build community, and establish a foundation for long-term success in independent living. Therefore, as part of the My First Place program, young people receive rent-free housing in shared apartments for the duration of their time in program.
Independent Living Skills Program
First Place for Youth manages the Independent Living Skills Programs (ILSP) for San Francisco and Solano Counties.
ILSP serves foster youth ages 16-21, and provides a welcoming and supportive atmosphere where youth can receive assistance in academic and employment issues, access to community resources and referrals, and connect with family finding and permanency services through a partnership with the Seneca Family of Agencies.
In addition to these “drop in” services, our ILSP offices also provide a wide array of scheduled community- and skill-building activities, as well as structured, intensive academic support through First Foundation.
My First Place Network
The challenges facing transition-age foster youth nationally are daunting, and too large for any one provider to tackle on its own. We believe the fastest and most sustainable way to serve more youth is by partnering with organizations that share our mission. To extend our commitment to practice and policy, we are building a network of diverse, data-driven providers to deliver the My First Place program and remove barriers to success for youth across the country.