My First Place
About This Program
It is the mission of First Place for Youth to support youth in their transition from foster care to successful adulthood by promoting choices and strengthening individual and community resources. First Place for Youth works to ensure that all foster youth have the opportunity to experience a safe and supported transition from foster care. The My First Place program consists of a supportive housing program, an academic enrichment program, counseling, youth community center, and collaboration with other Bay Area organizations.
Goals of My First Place:
The goal of the My First Place program is for youth to obtain the skills necessary to live independently and succeed on their own.
Target Population: Foster youth ages 16-23 who are, or are at-risk of, becoming homeless. The program is designed to allow transition aged youth (TAY) to participate.
For children/adolescents ages: 16 – 23
- Economic Literacy: Prior to moving into an apartment, all My First Place participants must attend a three-week intensive training class. Numerous skills needed for independence are addressed and honed in a project-based curriculum format. Financial literacy, relationships, employment, and social skills are addressed in the 20-hour course. Youth receive a stipend of $10/hour.
- Access to a First Place for Youth's Apartment: Once youth have graduated the Economic Literacy class, they are eligible to live in a studio, one bedroom, or two-bedroom scattered-site apartment located in Alameda, Contra Costa, and Solano Counties. After the 24-month program has ended, youth are eligible to retain the lease on the apartment and assume full responsibility for paying rent on the unit.
- Monthly Rental Subsidy: Each month for 24 months, First Place for Youth assists participants in the payment of their rent. When youth enter the My First Place program, they pay 30 percent of the market rate rent and First Place for Youth pays the remainder. As their participation in the program continues, participants pay an increasingly greater percentage of the market-rate rent for the unit.
- Weekly Youth Advocacy: Youth meet weekly with their Youth Advocate (Case Manager) to discuss the specific steps that they are taking to meet their individual goals. These can be in the areas of employment, health, education, financial management, and personal relationships.
- Monthly Community Building Events: Monthly community-building events help to decrease the level of isolation youth experience during the transition from foster care to independence.
- Move-In Assistance: Participants receive assistance when they move into their apartment. First Place for Youth pays for the cost of a rental truck, and staff members assist each client with their move and spend part of the day acclimating the youth to their new neighborhood. Essential furniture items (mattress, dresser, lamps, etc) are given to help furnish the apartment.
- Move-In Stipend: First Place for Youth awards a $200 move-in stipend to all participants who successfully complete Economic Literacy and move into a First Place for Youth apartment. This stipend is offered in order to help off set the costs of other household purchases such as linens and kitchenware.
- Monthly Food Stipend: Many youth barely have enough money to pay their rent, let alone buy healthy food. Through My First Place, single youth participants receive a $70 grocery voucher (mothers and pregnant youth receive a $100 grocery voucher) to Albertson's or Safeway on a monthly basis
My First Place was designed with a child/adolescent component that addresses the following presenting problems and symptoms for children/adolescents ages 16 – 23:
- Living in foster care and at risk of becoming homeless or aged out of foster care and already homeless.
My First Place was not designed with a parent/caregiver component.
My First Place was designed to be conducted in a group setting; but has not been tested for use in a group setting.
Recommended group size:
The group size varies in order to meet the needs of the youth. Ideally, the class is of moderate size (10-12 youth), which allows for a very cohesive cohort.
Youth meet at least once per week with a Youth Advocate (Case Manager). Weekly support groups are also available.
Up to 24 months.
This program is typically conducted in a(n):
- Community Agency
This program does not include a homework component.
My First Place does not have materials available in a language other than English.
Resources Needed to Run Program
The typical resources for implementing the program are:
- One Youth Advocate for every 12-15 housed clients
- One Housing Manager for every county served to secure apartments and act as liaison with property owners
- Resources such as food vouchers, move-in stipend, and move-in support; classroom for economic literacy trainings and transition support groups
- Emergency pager for youth to reach staff
- Cell phones for all staff to be used in emergencies
- Workshop materials and supplies
Minimum Provider Qualifications
Youth Advocates require a BA, ideally an MSW or MA, in a related field to help focus on Mental Health and Substance Abuse issues more effectively. A clean driving record is required since they transport the youth often.
Housing Managers require a BA and experience being part of a management team. Members of the Housing Staff require a background in fair housing laws, property management, and affordable housing.
Program Managers require an MSW, supervision experience, background in working with at-risk youth, housing, and a strong clinical background
Education and Training Resources
There is not a manual that describes how to implement this program; but there is training available for this program.
- Aron Sumii, Director of Talent
Training is obtained:
Via phone consultation.
Number of days/hours:
Informal training/consultation is available to those who are interested.
Relevant Published, Peer-Reviewed Research
This program has been reviewed and it was determined that this program lacks the type of published, peer-reviewed research that meets the CEBC criteria for a scientific rating of 1 – 5. Therefore, the program has been given the classification of "NR - Not able to be Rated." It was reviewed because it was identified by the topic expert as a program being used in the field, or it is being marketed and/or used in California with children receiving services from child welfare or related systems and their parents/caregivers. Some programs that are not rated may have published, peer-reviewed research that does not meet the above stated criteria or may have eligible studies that have not yet been published in the peer-reviewed literature. For more information on the "NR - Not able to be Rated" classification, please see the Scientific Rating Scale.
Child Welfare Outcomes: Not Specified
Currently, there are no published, peer-reviewed research studies for My First Place.
No reference materials are currently available for My First Place.
Date Research Evidence Last Reviewed by CEBC: June 2012
Date Program Originally Loaded onto CEBC: September 2006
Date Program Content Last Reviewed by Program Staff: September 2006