My First Place is an education and employment program that serves young adults (18-24) who are in or are emancipated from child welfare or probation systems. The program employs housing and case management supports to provide participants with the stable foundations that enable them to successfully transition to self-sufficiency.

We believe that safe, stable housing is necessary in order for these young people to focus on their education and employment goals. Therefore, all My First Place participants receive fully subsidized housing in a shared apartment for the full duration of their stay in program.

While in program, youth are expected to work closely with their MFP team—consisting of a Youth Advocate (a Masters level social worker), an Education and Employment Specialist, and a Housing Specialist—as they pursue their self-identified goals in healthy living, education, employment, and housing goals.

Youth Advocates and participants meet one-on-one, face-to-face at least once weekly to support participants in developing healthy living skills and removing barriers to education or employment. These meetings are tailored to the needs of the participant and topics of discussion can range from setting and respecting boundaries, to healthy relationships, to budgeting, to counseling. The Youth Advocate has a caseload of 1:12-15.

Participants meet with their Education & Employment (EE) Specialist twice a month to support their pursuit of educational opportunities, including high school completion, earning a GED, or enrolling in higher education, as well as in identifying and pursuing employment opportunities. First Place encourages linked learning opportunities and marketable, industry-recognized certifications when possible. The EE Specialist has a caseload of 1:30-36, and because of this higher case-load and youth work or school schedules we allow one meeting with participants to be by phone each month.

Begin the MFP referral process

Our Housing Specialists are primarily responsible for securing apartments and maintaining relationships with landlords and property management, and they also take an active role supporting participants in developing good tenancy skills. They conduct move-ins/move-outs, assist youth with maintenance requests, make routine housing inspections, and generally act as a liaison between property owners and program participants.

To ensure that program participants receive appropriate supports and interventions based on their individual goals and needs, MFP staff employ a youth-centered, needs-driven, trauma-informed approach and use numerous evidence-based practices like Motivational Interviewing and assessment tools such as Comprehensive Adult Student Assessment System (CASAS) to guide their practice.

Steps to Success

Embedded within My First Place and offered to all program participants, Steps to Success is a structured model of educational and career development support designed to assess young people’s academic and employment readiness when they enter program and help them obtain the skills, experience, and certifications they need to advance toward self-sustainability in their career.

Participants receive appropriate, individualized support at guidance throughout the process, from academic tutoring to resume writing and long-term career planning.