First Place targets its services to 16 to 23 year-olds who are preparing to age out of foster care or who have recently aged out of care. Once discharged from care, county-funded foster care services are discontinued for the vast majority of these young adults. Moreover, there are limited community-based services available. Instead of receiving support and guidance during this critical transition, emancipated foster youth are without housing, a source of income, adult encouragement, or community support.
OUR MISSION & SERVICES It is the mission of First Place to support youth in their transition from foster care to successful adulthood by promoting choices and strengthening individual and community resources. We fulfill this mission through three programs: the Supported Housing Program and the Emancipation Training Center and the Emancipation Specialist Program.
Supported Housing Program (SHP): The objective of SHP is to provide emancipated foster youth with access to safe, affordable housing, where they have the opportunity to develop and practice life skills to achieve long-term self-sufficiency. SHP participants live in two-bedroom apartments in the East Bay and receive a wide range of services and support. These include financial assistance to pay housing start-up costs, monthly rental subsidies, weekly in-home case management, weekly life skills training, economic literacy training, transportation assistance, monthly food vouchers, community building peer events, and health advocacy. SHP provides safe, affordable housing to 86 youth and 32 children annually.
Emancipation Training Center (ETC): In addition to the Supported Housing Program, First Place provides training and assistance through its Emancipation Training Center. The mission of the Emancipation Training Center is to prepare youth for emancipation and support youth after discharge from foster care. Through the ETC, 500 youth annually access education, housing and employment resources. Services include therapeutic case management, emancipation planning, housing search assistance, emergency food vouchers, emergency utility assistance, computers, recreational activities and educational resources.
Emancipation Specialist Program (ESP): The Emancipation Specialist Program is staffed by specialists who provide intensive case management to 40 at-risk youth who are within two years of "aging out" of foster care. Together, the Emancipation Specialist and youth develop goals and identify community resources in the critical areas of education, housing and employment.
Our impact: Outcome data indicate that the First Place housing model has a positive impact on the lives of former foster youth. The following measures compare First Place youth with the general population of former foster youth 12 to 18 months after discharge from foster care:
Incarceration: First Place youth are 6 times less likely to be arrested or incarcerated
Homelessness: First Place youth are 4 times less likely to be homeless
Public Assistance Utilization: First Place youth are 3 times less likely to receive GA or TANF
Employment: First Place youth are 50 percent more likely to be employed
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