Located within SVdP’s First Place Family Center, First Place Kids is a unique program that addresses the multifaceted needs of children and families who are experiencing homelessness in Lane County.
Homelessness impacts every member of the family, right down to a young child’s ability to play. For families without homes, there are no bedrooms, toy boxes or fenced yards. Instead, there’s weather, traffic, feral animals and strangers, and parents stressed by that and so much more. As a result, a carefree childhood is lost. As they grow older, children living in extreme poverty and homelessness encounter a myriad of factors, including food insecurity, sleep deprivation, trauma, lack of health care and chaos that directly impacts their level of academic engagement and often continues the cycle of poverty.
Homelessness impacts every family member.
First Place Kids provides integrated services to a vulnerable population unlike any other program in our community. We emphasize a wrap-around model where children receive the care they need and where parents are encouraged to build protective factors that mitigate the negative impacts of trauma.
Integrated services, accessible approach.
First Place Kids serves families who face many barriers to accessing other children and family services in our community. Our highly accessible approach includes: bringing support services onsite at our day access center, serving a large age range of children, no attendance requirements for our programming, and offering all of our services completely free of charge.
Four-part, one-of-a-kind model of support.
First Place Kids offers four distinct areas of service, which work together to provide a one of a kind model of support to families in need:
- Therapeutic Childcare: a low-barrier, trauma-informed childcare program that works to meet the immediate needs of children and families who are actively unhoused.
- Family resource coordination, advocacy, and referrals.
- Family enrichment and bonding activities.
- Collaboration with partner agencies and community engagement.
Uniquely positioned to respond to evolving needs.
First Place Kids is uniquely positioned to respond to the evolving needs of families navigating homelessness within our community during the COVID-19 pandemic. Since March 2019, First Place Kids has provided critical academic support to students engaging with remote learning while homeless. In order to reduce barriers to remote learning participation, the First Place Kids has provided distance learning tools and tutoring services, as well as coordinated with local school districts to facilitate academic success for children experiencing homelessness.
First Place Kids is consistently seeking support from volunteers and interns in order to provide a high level of care for children in our program. We provide many opportunities for community members to directly impact children and families experiencing homelessness. Please get in touch with us at (541) 650-4218 for more information on how to get involved!
Learn more about First Place Kids in this article by Illana Jakubowski