“My youth advocate tells me, ‘You have a good head on your shoulders. You’re really smart. I know you are gonna get somewhere.’ And I believe her.”—Participant in My First Place
Providing a Healthy and Safe Transition for Youth who Age out of Foster Care
Dates of Project: July 2005 through November 2013
Description: First Place for Youth expanded its program, My First Place, which provides intensive case management, subsidized rental housing, financial assistance, and education and employment-support services to young adults between 18 and 24 years of age who are in or have recently aged out of the foster care system in the San Francisco Bay Area of Northern California and Los Angeles County. My First Place is built around the trusting relationships that develop between the former foster youth and the First Place youth advocates and employment and education specialists.
“First Place’s solution is to help these young people become self-sufficient. We take care of the whole individual—their emotional needs, their health needs, and their basic need of housing,” says Sam Cobbs, the CEO of First Place for Youth.
First Place for Youth also contracted with Public/Private Ventures—a nonprofit social services research and policy organization—to conduct an independent evaluation of My First Place. And the organization worked with numerous other subcontractors to create a five-year strategic plan.
From July 1, 2005 to December 31, 2009, My First Place helped 515 young adults with 6,557 monthly rent subsidies, 454 move-in stipends, 4,634 grocery vouchers, and 454 microloans (which are used to cover security deposits).
From December 1, 2012 to November 30, 2013, First Place for Youth created and then began implementation of a strategic plan for the years 2014–2018, emphasizing goals to expand its services to one new county in California and two locations outside of the state, conduct a full-scale evaluation of My First Place, and improve the organization’s financial stability.
My First Place participants made gains in education, employment, and housing while in the program. Among the 103 participants tracked during the evaluation:
- More than two-thirds (68%) enrolled in education programs.
- Nearly three-fourths (72%) found employment.
- Nearly all (97%) reported feeling safe within their home; the same percentage rated their home as “very good” or “good enough for me.”
A Foundation for Life After Foster Care
- First Place for Youth: RWJF Program/Initiative December 18, 2019
- Aging Out of Foster Care: The Unmet Needs of Youth February 23, 2009
- My First Place, a program of First Place for Youth March 1, 2012
- About this grant