formerly St. Joseph Orphanage (855) 577-PATH (7284)
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Hannah’s Story

January 24, 2022

Hannah’s Story

The Success of the My First Place Program

“I was like, this is going to be a huge turning point in my life. And it has.” – Hannah Carrington, a My First Place program client.

“What My First Place brought to Hamilton County youth is a data-driven and promising practice modality to help young people be successful. And when they age out [of foster care], go to safe, stable, and secure housing. We wrap them with a lot more support than a traditional independent living program. Nobody likes to see kids exit [foster care] and become homeless. So we really wanted to change that statistic.”

Esther Urick, Senior Director of Services

What is My First Place?

My First Place is a nationally-recognized education and employment program model that employs housing and case management support to enable youth to develop a sense of permanency and build the skills they need for a successful transition to self-sufficiency. NewPath Child & Family Solutions (formerly St. Joseph Orphanage) believes that having a safe place to call home is a stabilizing factor that enables youth to focus on establishing a foundation for long-term success in their future. The foster youth participating in the program receive rent-free housing in shared apartments for the duration of their time in the program, and access to a team of program staff to identify, plan for and achieve their personal goals.

Changing Statistics. Changing Futures.

According to statistics by First Place for Youth, the organization that hosts and runs the My First Place program in partnership with NewPath, there is more than 25,000 foster youth transitioning into adulthood each year.

Of those 25,000 foster youth:
  • 40% will experience homelessness by the age of 24
  • 25% will be arrested or incarcerated
  • 20% will not obtain a high school diploma or GED
  • Fewer than 5% will earn a bachelor’s degree
NewPath’s Youth Advocates, and Employment and Education Specialists partner with young adults in foster care to learn how to:
  • Secure safe housing
  • Get a job and build a career
  • Continue their education
  • Prioritize personal health
  • Obtain reliable transportation
  • Build personal and professional relationships

My First Place and NewPath have worked hard to institute a program to not only build hope but develop the tools and social skills needed for successful adult life. Since this program’s beginning in 2019, 67% of participating clients are stably housed and 56% are employed. The success of this program and the number of young adult participants have continued to grow each year.

Igniting Hope for Hannah

WCPO Cincinnati, a local news outlet, featured NewPath’s My First Place program and highlighted Hannah Carrington, a program client. Hannah lived with her three siblings and grandmother after removal from her parents’ care by Hamilton County Children’s Services. “Practically my entire childhood was filled with neglect and abuse from my parents,” said Hannah in an interview.

This new arrangement for Hannah and her siblings lasted for several years until her grandmother couldn’t take care of them anymore. Hannah has the disorder known as Fragile X Syndrome, a genetic condition that causes a range of developmental delays including learning disabilities and cognitive impairment.

As Hannah neared the age of 18, she worried about what her next steps would be once she aged out of foster care. Thankfully, she joined NewPath’s My First Place program and her future began to look brighter. When asked about how it felt to join the program she said, “I was like, this is going to be a huge turning point in my life. And it has.” With the support of NewPath, she is on track to finish high school on time and join a workforce training program after graduation.

There is hope. There is help.

“With a scale of 1 to 10 to recommend this to other kids, I would do a 10,” said Hannah about NewPath and My First Place. “Because this program does everything that they can for the kids that’s just new on their own. They didn’t have a childhood like they wanted. And the program will do everything they can to meet the child’s needs.”

If you or someone you know is a young adult between the ages of 18 and 21, currently in or have ever been in the custody of Hamilton County, Ohio foster care system, contact us to learn more about NewPath’s My First Place program by submitting the form below. Otherwise, you can check out some of our other programs: Ohio Bridges (for ages 18-20), Independent Living (ages 18-21), and JOURNEY Housing (ages 18-21). You don’t have to face the future alone, NewPath is here to help.

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