Trauma-Informed Care in Action at First Place 

For foster youth who have experienced trauma and instability, the transition to adulthood is a pivotal journey that can be especially challenging. At First Place for Youth, we aim to support these young individuals with trauma-informed care as they rebuild trust in themselves and in others, providing the foundation for healing and growth. 

Trauma-informed care is a framework that acknowledges the prevalence of trauma and its effects on individuals while providing a safe and supportive environment for healing. It goes beyond recognizing past trauma; it’s about responding in a way that fosters resilience and recovery.  

In the context of our My First Place™ program, where youth have, on average, spent nearly four years in foster care, lived in multiple placements, and attended several high schools, these experiences leave lasting imprints on their emotional well-being, cognitive development, and self-esteem. Without appropriate support, the emotional scars of their past can cast long shadows over their transition to adulthood. At First Place, we understand the need to meet youth where they are, acknowledging their past while working together to find a path forward. Our My First Place™ program serves as a stable home, allowing youth to focus on education, employment goals, and community-building.

In Santa Clara County, our dedicated Youth Advocate, Tiana, exemplifies the principles of trauma-informed care in her work with a young person grappling with increased depression. Tiana navigates their conversations and meetings with sensitivity and mindfulness, avoiding triggers such as discussing unmet past goals. Instead, she collaborates with the youth to identify new goals, fostering hope and optimism about the future. Just as Tiana avoids labeling language in her work, our staff employs motivational interviewing, positive youth development, and other trauma-informed practices to provide tailored support, resources, and strategies for our youth. Additionally, My First Place™ staff are trained to recognize how trauma may manifest in behavior, emotions, and relationships, addressing root causes rather than reacting to behaviors. 

In our commitment to providing trauma-informed care, we stand alongside foster youth, empowering them with the skills to navigate challenges even after they transition out of our programs. By recognizing the impact of trauma and creating safe environments to empower foster youth, we aim to provide a holistic and compassionate approach to their well-being. At First Place, we’re proud to stand alongside these incredible young individuals as they embark on their path to independence, ready to remind them that their past does not define their future. 

In the Media

Share the Spirit: After years in the foster system, a young woman gets a room of her own

With First Place for Youth in her corner, Jayla Lackaff is studying video game design at College of Alameda

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Research & Publications

2023 Annual Report

In 2023, First Place for Youth and our network partners in Massachusetts, New York, Mississippi, and Cincinnati served 1,660 young […]

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Love, Legacy, and Lessons Learned on the Road with CEO Thomas Lee

Following the First Place for Youth retreat in Alabama, I continued to New York, Washington D.C., the Carolinas, and ultimately […]

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