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 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 and refinement of their services. Since launching the Network in 2017, First Place has established partnerships with Hopewell, the Children’s Village, St. Joseph Orphanage, and the Mississippi State Department of Child Protection Services.

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

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