The IssueThe California foster care system is set up in such as way as to march young adults into long-term, chronic homelessness. Each year in California, more than 5,000 youth age out of foster care when they turn 18 and lose access to all state-funded foster care services. Without housing, education or emotional support, 65 percent of foster youth will face imminent homelessness, 20 percent will be arrested or incarcerated, 46 percent will complete high school and only 1 percent will graduate from college.
Research has shown that providing intensive services—such as housing, education and employment support—at the critical juncture when youth are aging out, helps them avoid negative social outcomes and achieve real long-term self-sufficiency. The problem of homelessness among former foster youth is SOLVABLE. Over 2,000 youth exit care each year in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Alameda, Contra Costa and Solano counties—we know who they are, where they live and the date they will become homeless.
First Place for Youth pioneered four innovative programs designed to defy negative statistics among former foster youth by providing an innovative mix of:
- permanent housing with a graduated subsidy
- employment training and job development
- education assessment and support
- transformative emotional support and community building
Over the last decade, First Place has had a profound impact on our youth participants. When compared to other transition age foster youth, First Place youth are:
- five times less likely to experience homelessness
- three times less likely to give birth before the age of 21
- three times less likely to be arrested
- six times more likely to be enrolled in college
- twice as likely to graduate from high school
- twice as likely to be employed