Our First Advocacy Day in Sacramento was a Success!

Our first Advocacy Day in Sacramento was a success! On April 27th, First Place leadership, staff, and youth visited the California State Capitol to introduce our organization to influential decision-makers, foster relationships, gather support, and ensure that state policy and funding align with the needs of the youth we serve. It was a momentous occasion that brought together our dedicated team and elected officials to advocate for the legislative and budget priorities of First Place for Youth.   

During our meetings, both our youth and staff passionately expressed support for several policy priorities that directly impact the lives of foster youth in California: 

  • AB 369 (Zbur) Foster Care: Independent Living 
  • AB 525 (Ting) Foster youth: supervised independent living placement housing supplement 
  • SB 456 (Menjivar) Multifamily Housing Program: nonprofit corporations: homeless or at-risk youth 
  • SB 307 (Ashby) Middle Class Scholarship Program: community colleges: current and former foster youth 
  • AB 963 (Schiavo) The End the Foster Care-to-Homelessness Pipeline Act 
  • $2 Million Budget Request to help in processing background checks in a timely manner

For more in-depth information about these policy priorities, please visit our Policy page. 

Jayla Lackaff, one of our inspiring youth, shared her experience, stating, “I was honored to be able to attend Advocacy Day. Three of the five bills had affected or will affect me in the near future, so seeing that people were acknowledging these problems and trying to do something about it felt touching. Being able to participate and see other youth show up was inspiring, and I was happy to hear everyone share their stories. All of the assembly members and their staff were incredibly welcoming, and overall, the whole day was enjoyable.” 

Tempest Smith, our Education Advocate Lead, expressed her amazement at witnessing our youth interact with elected officials, saying, “It was amazing to watch our youth interact with our elected officials, being able to see firsthand how laws are put into effect and the work that goes into it.” 

Maya Meza, our ILSP Specialist, reflecting on the event, stated, “I am happy that First Place for Youth provided the opportunity for our youth to advocate directly with our elected officials. Many of our youth want to make changes for the next generations, and this was a step in the right direction. I got to hear one of my youth talk about how this aligned with what he wanted to do career-wise, and it made me so happy. We need more events like this for our youth if we want a better child welfare system!” 

Our Advocacy Day provided an invaluable opportunity to introduce First Place for Youth and our priorities to legislators, particularly those representing the counties where we operate. It also laid the groundwork for future visits and helped us establish vital connections that will be instrumental in advancing our policy work. By advocating for critical legislation and funding, we are striving to create a brighter future for the youth we serve.  

We are so grateful to all the First Place youth and staff members who attended and contributed to the event’s success. Together, we can empower change and provide a path to success for every foster youth in California!

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