First Place for Youth

Regional Director of Programs, Southern California

Los Angeles, CA


Website: First Place For Youth



First Place for Youth (First Place) seeks nominations and applications for the position of Regional Director of Programs. First Place is redefining the experience for youth transitioning out of foster care by delivering an innovative program that helps youth build the necessary life skills towards self-sufficiency and an independent, productive, and responsible adulthood.

Established in 1998, First Place for Youth’s My First Place (MFP) program seeks to eradicate these disparities and the associated risk of poverty. Specifically, the mission of the program is to help foster kids build the skills they need to make a successful transition to self-sufficiency and responsible adulthood. MFP serves the most vulnerable former and current transition-age foster youth (ages 18 to 24) who are otherwise unprepared for independent living. MFP supports youth in launching their adult lives by providing evidence-informed services and supports in the areas of housing, education, employment, and healthy living.

The My First Place program is an education and employment program with a housing component, all supported by intensive case management. With a focus on long-term stability, resilience, and well-being, services are provided in the community and are individually tailored to capitalize on each youth’s strengths as they progress toward self-sufficiency. MFP employs a youth-centered, needs-driven, trauma-informed approach to providing youth with support and coaching to learn independent living skills across life domains through real world application. 

Grounded in positive youth development theory, First Place’s approach focuses on partnering with youth in service delivery and providing situations to fulfill their full range of developmental needs – educational, economic, social, and psychological. Maintaining an unconditional commitment to achieving outcomes, First Place seeks to  prevent chronic homelessness, high rates of incarceration, long-term poverty, to increase access and success in education, and to break the intergenerational cycle of foster care experienced disproportionately by young people who have experienced foster care as children and assist youth to achieve housing stability and sustainable wage, career focused employment. First Place’s model has a strong track record of successful outcomes, and the potential to grow toward sustainably addressing these persistent challenges in California and beyond.

Headquartered in Oakland, California, First Place operates in six California counties: Alameda, Contra Costa, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Santa Clara, and Solano. First Place for Youth also provides Independent Living Skills Programs in San Francisco and Solano counties and participates in a federal homelessness prevention pilot program bringing DBT coaching and classes to transition age foster youth in Alameda County.  Across all services, key programming areas include strategies to achieve Housing Stability, Economic Stability, Education attainment, Healthy Living, and Community Connection.

With the support of Tipping Point Community, The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, The Conrad Hilton Foundation, New Profit Inc., among others, First Place has grown from an specialized housing and services program for former foster youth in Oakland to a nationally recognized employment and education program that is changing the dialogue around emancipated youth, shaping the culture and practices of child welfare in the State of California, and affecting legislation in a way that supports the desired outcome of self-sufficiency.

Dramatic growth continues particularly in Los Angeles County, where 1,500 youth “age out” of foster care every year. First Place’s regional site based in L.A. has a $2.7 million operating budget and staff comprised of program managers, youth advocates, education & employment specialists, and housing specialists. First Place for Youth began work in Los Angeles County in 2013 in response to the high demand and low availability of services. First Place for Youth, Los Angeles has enabled the organization to test the success of its model through replication, and to improve practice and strategy both in service and policy arenas.  Now the fastest growing of any My First Place sites, the Los Angeles program has been called upon to lead agency wide initiatives to improve youth outcome and to pilot innovation toward increasing impact.  In the past year, collaboration with local philanthropy (Art and Practice) and housing developers has resulted in three additional service and housing sites for MFP participants.  

Entering the national conversation, Frist Place has launched an affiliate network this year, work that is grounded in the lessons learned during expansion to Los Angeles County.  First Place leads county efforts to improve services, to increase availability of affordable housing, and to promote data driven strategies that ensure outcomes for all young people served.

Reporting to the COO, the Regional Director of Programs (Regional Director) will lead program operations and service delivery for the region, overseeing fiscal management, community development, training, compliance, and leadership of change and improvement efforts. The Regional Director will ensure the highest quality of services and that all programs meet or exceed their outcome goals. S/he will work in collaboration with the regional and national program staff to continue to expand First Place’s impact while building a sustainable, efficient organization with strong roots in the community, and limitless potential for success.  In addition to providing strategic and day-to-day oversight of all aspects of program, the qualified Regional Director will develop and maintain expert collaborative partnerships with county agencies, and will provide practice leadership with community based partners.

The ideal candidate will be a proven leader with the capacity to lead and inspire top-flight staff. Driven by a passion to effect change for this population, s/he will bring a deep, broad network in Southern California and a strong understanding of complex county-level programs and compliance. S/he will lead with a strong personal commitment to First Place’s mission to serving youth, and demonstrate the ability to grow along with the organization as it plans for a new era of expansion and impact.



This search is being conducted with assistance from Allison Kupfer Poteet and Nureen Das. Candidates are encouraged to apply as soon as possible, and applications will be reviewed as they are received. Please send nominations and/or applications including cover letter describing your interest and qualifications, your resume (in Word format), salary history, and where you learned of the position to:

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Allison Kupfer Poteet

Allison leads a national search practice that spans philanthropy at all levels, leading direct service providers, as well as nonprofits advancing solutions through policy, advocacy, evaluation and learning, and innovative approaches to social change.

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