Washington County Kids needs to hear from you!  

Washington County Kids wants to learn from parents and caregivers like you. Washington County Kids is a non-profit organization supporting out-of-school time programs in the area and we would like to learn about your experience with out-of-school time programs (early childhood, after school, and summer). Take our online survey to tell us about what you look for in summer, before school, after school, and early childhood programs for your kids. As well as what challenges you've experienced finding and using these kinds of programs. Information from the survey will help us better support and grow programs in Washington County. Access the survey in English. Access the survey in Spanish.

Homeplate: Serving youth experiencing homelessness in Washington County

By Katie Riley

Homeless youth in Washington County have a bright ray of hope at HomePlate. Last winter during the snow, a young woman who was four months pregnant was able to find a job, shelter, prenatal care, baby clothes, diapers and eventually housing—all through HomePlate Youth Services and their connections to community partners.  HomePlate partners with other non-profits and serves as a resource broker to help youth obtain food and housing.  Sometimes legal and mental and physical health services are provided—even eye exams through Pacific University, and glasses.  The Boys and Girls Aid Society can sometimes help with transitional housing for youth who have aged out of Foster Care.  SafePlace is a shelter for youth ages 13-19 in Hillsboro.

Often youth who become homeless are living in unstable or dysfunctional homes or they age-out of foster care.  There might be physical or mental abuse, and possibly an unplanned pregnancy or issues around accepting gender identity.  Sometimes youth find their parents are not safe due to drug or alcohol use.  Many Washington County youth do not feel safe going into Portland to access services.  They may be living in the shadows in the suburban environment and not visible.  Some sleep on couches of friends, in garages with no heat, or sleep outside.  People are often shocked at the numbers of youth who are homeless.  In 2017, HomePlate served 452 youth, and in the first nine months of 2018, they have served 420 youth. HomePlate helps youth get off the street and be in a safe place.  They are treated in a non-judgemental manner, allowing them to talk and advocate for what they need and want.  

Youth ages 12-24 can drop-in on Monday and Tuesday at the Beaverton Day Space/Office location and on Thursdays at the Hillsboro First Congregational United Church of Christ. They can also access services by appointment outside of drop-in hours, including showers, laundry facilities, hygiene supplies, food, clothing, housing and medical referrals, and employment mentoring and opportunities. Volunteers provide a meal on Thursday evenings at the Hillsboro drop-in.

HomePlate was founded with grants over thirteen years ago by Executive Director Bridget Caffee and several community partners who were concerned that youth had no safe place to go if they were without a stable home. Bridget was serving as a Jesuit Volunteer in the children’s program at Community Action family shelter.  Initially, a meal, clothing, hygiene supplies, housing referrals, and support were offered at the drop-in, but the program grew as youth asked for employment opportunities and other types of referrals. 

As the program grew, Bridget and other volunteers provided outreach, meeting youth where they were on the streets, skate parks, transit stations, and schools. Outreach remains a critical component of HomePlate’s programming, and the outreach team can be seen with their green backpacks four days a week meeting youth where they are in Beaverton, Hillsboro, Aloha and Tigard. They hand out basic supplies such as water, snacks, warm socks, gloves and hats, and talk to youth about how to access services and shelters in the area.

The main office moved to the Beaverton site two years ago.  Currently, HomePlate has ten staff (eight full time, and two Americorps Jesuit Volunteers).  The offices are rented from the Beaverton First United Methodist Church in a cozy house that youth find very welcoming.  It is near the Beaverton Library, and sometimes the library personnel refers youth to HomePlate. 

An employment program started in 2013 in partnership with the Beaverton Farmers Market. A doggie daycare program, Sit-N-Stay is popular. It operates every Saturday during the summer.  Youth learn to work as a team, show up on time, work with customers and handle cash, as well as how to care for dogs.  As youth age out of HomePlate, they can also learn management and leadership skills as a supervisor for the program.   Another employment program, HomePerk, was started in partnership with the Bethel United Church of Christ and provides an opportunity that has helped some youth find jobs in the restaurant business.  At HomePerk they make and serve coffee and refreshments for the congregation each Sunday. Volunteers also help to facilitate this program. HomePlate also partners with Work Source for other job opportunities. The HomePlate Employment Coordinator is always looking for opportunities including one-day work.  Some youth have no references or experience to include on a resume and these programs help them get that experience in a supportive atmosphere.  One youth is now doing a paid internship with the City of Hillsboro through a special new program. 

Many homeless youth cannot continue in school and drop out or struggle to survive.  Volunteers serve as homework mentors for middle, high school, and college youth.  Some youth work on the GED certificate.  Core volunteers serve a minimum of six months; often one-night a week or Tuesday afternoons.  It is essential that youth see a familiar face and build relationships.

HomePlate strives to foster resilience and provide a place where youth feel they belong and someone cares.  The staff reach out, give a meal, ask how their day has gone.  Funding for HomePlate comes from many sources including individual donations, corporate giving, and private and government grants. A comprehensive, sustainable funding program for the county would greatly help.  

For more information about HomePlate contact Kirsten Carpentier, 971-322-9381, 

WCK in the news!


Washington County Kids was featured in the news! Our upcoming community conversations were highlighted. You can read the article here.

Join us!

Next WCK Meeting is SOCIAL!    Sign up to attend the potluck meeting on November 19th at 6 pm at Katie's house.  RSVP at and get directions.  

Trauma-informed training


Washington County Kids is pleased to offer a workshop on Trauma-informed Care for staff working with children and youth. The workshop will be held on Wednesday, November 7th from 1-3 pm at the Hillsboro Brookwood Library in the Community Room.   The workshop will include all of the NEAR science of trauma and trauma-informed care for organizations. It has videos, lecture, and interactive activities.  NEAR science is a cluster of science that stands for Neuroscience, Epigenetics, ACEs, and Resilience. This cluster gives us a more whole picture of experiences over the life-course and over generations.  ACE's are Adverse Childhood Experiences that harm children's developing brains and can have traumatic effects that influence future behavior and health.   The workshop will be led by Rachel Ronning, LCSW, School-Based Services Coordinator and Genevieve Ellis MPH, Senior Program Coordinator, in the Washington County Department of Health and Human Services.

Cost for the workshop is $10 payable by check made out to WCK and sent to

250 NE Hillwood Dr
Hillsboro, OR  97124


payable online at our website in the "donate" link.

To reserve your place or space for your staff, please send Katie an email right away.

UPDATE-Fred Meyer Rewards

Our account number has been changed.  It is now EG761.

Please visit this website to link your Fred Meyer Rewards Card to WCK.  You still receive the same rewards as usual, but Fred Meyer makes a small donation to WCK when you choose to link your card.  You can enter our organization number: EG761, to link your card to our reward account.  Thank you!


VOTE!  Your vote is very important--please turn in your ballot by November 6th at 8 pm.  Your local library is a great location!

Chess for success in the news

Check out this great article about Chess for Success! Congratulations to our partner!
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