07/26/2019 HopeWell’s My First Place™ program receives funding from Boston Children’s Hospital

MAY 1, 2019

(BOSTON, MA) HopeWell is delighted to announce that it has received $75,000 over three years from Boston Children’s Collaboration for Community Health.

The grant will support HopeWell’s My First Place™ program (MFP); an education and employment program that provides safe, stable housing, and case management support for youth who have aged out of the foster care system to build the skills they need to make a successful transition to self-sufficiency by decreasing homelessness and increasing earning potential.  MFP works exclusively with youth who age out of foster care between the ages of 18-24.  The program model is designed to improve access to the social conditions that often influence health including good jobs, education, safe housing, and good physical and social environments. Program goals include increasing the educational attainment for youth who have aged out of foster care as well as increasing the employment rate of program youth.

HopeWell President and Chief Executive Officer, Shaheer Mustafa expressed his gratitude to Boston Children’s hospital for selecting My First Place™ stating, “We are thrilled to receive funding from the Collaboration for Community Health to support youth who have exited foster care increase their chances for success.  Navigating early adulthood can be a challenge for any youth and My First Place™ helps level the playing field for former foster youth.  We want to ensure they have access to the same resources as their non-foster peers and the support of Boston Children’s Hospital will help make that possible.”

The grant to HopeWell is part of Boston Children’s Hospital’s distribution of $5 million to 16 funded partners through its Collaboration for Community Health. This distribution is a portion of the hospital’s commitment of $53.4 million to support community organizations and public agencies to improve the health and well-being of children and families in Greater Boston. Funds will be distributed over the next 7-10 years as required by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health’s Determination of Need program.

“Boston Children’s has a long-standing commitment to its community mission,” says Kevin Churchwell, MD, President and Chief Operating Officer of Boston Children’s. “Now through the Collaboration for Community Health, we’ve reached a critical moment to further this mission. This investment will allow us to support community organizations to implement approaches that address critical health issues and the social, behavioral and environmental factors that affect a child’s health.”

The funded projects will focus on improving children’s access to mental health assessment and treatment, developing models to expand the mental health workforce and advancing knowledge in this area. Projects in youth support will help increase the engagement of young people in programs that support their development. Other projects will address child and adolescent exposure to trauma and traumatic events.

“Our goal for the Collaboration is to strengthen community organizations so that they can grow and lead,” says Shari Nethersole, MD, Executive Director for Community Health. “We want the results of their projects to inform and influence changes in systems of care, which will help create more sustainable approaches to complex health and social problems.”

The strategy to distribute funds followed a two-year community engagement process to inform how Boston Children’s could make a long-lasting impact. That process resulted in identifying several strategic funding areas to address the health and social needs of children and families.

Founded in 1964, HopeWell is the largest nonprofit provider of intensive foster care in Massachusetts.  With offices throughout the Commonwealth, HopeWell serves over 1200 youth annually through a variety of critical programs.  In addition to foster care, HopeWell offers in-home support and stabilization services to families involved with the Department of Children and Families (DCF), supports youth aging out of foster care by providing stable housing, education and employment support, as well as providing residential care for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Boston Children’s Hospital, the primary pediatric teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School, is home to the world’s largest research enterprise based at a pediatric medical center. Its discoveries have benefited both children and adults since 1869. Today, more than 3,000 scientists, including nine members of the National Academy of Sciences, 17 members of the National Academy of Medicine and 11 Howard Hughes Medical Investigators comprise Boston Children’s research community. Founded as a 20-bed hospital for children, Boston Children’s is now a 415-bed comprehensive center for pediatric and adolescent health care. For more, visit our Vector and Thriving blogs and follow us on social media @BostonChildrens, @BCH_Innovation, Facebook and YouTube.