Who is Kids First?

In August 1997, while participating in a spiritual weekend, known as Epiphany, Deborah Thorne had her own epiphany. This three-day celebration was being held behind the locked gates of the California Youth Authority. There she saw children as young as twelve years old, who were imprisoned.

At that time she was working as the Healthy Start coordinator at an elementary school in Compton, California. As coordinator, she was witnessed the needs of families and children first hand. She also saw seven year olds who were clearly on their way to incarceration. Her prayer was to find some way of intervening.

That weekend she was invited to attend a conference for “Catholic chaplains in detention ministry”. Thorne found this strange because she is neither Catholic, nor a chaplain; but she supposed you could say her participation in Epiphany was detention ministry. At the conference she learned about this thing called “mediation”, which allowed some children to avoid incarceration, while helping to restore them to the community. She immediately set out to learn as much as she could about this process. She took classes and became certified by several agencies. Best practices suggest a mediator have twenty-five to thirty hours of training, Thorne has over two hundred-fifty hours of mediation training.

With certificates in hand, she launched Kids First Comprehensive Conflict Resolution Services for Children, in 2000. The original plan was for Kids First to provide victim/juvenile offender mediation, with social services. Through the years Kids First been transformed into its current profile. We provide conflict resolution services to schools, churches and communities. We are

Kids First Conflict Resolution and Training Services

Our Mission

To strengthen children, churches and communities by resolving conflict.

Our Vision

Kids First envisions a world where adults place the well being of kids first.

Since 200, Kids First has been providing conflict resolution and training services. Our personalized, comprehensive services have been utilized by elementary, middle and high schools in the Compton, Los Angeles and Manhattan Beach Unified School Districts. We have provided training services to many churches and community organizations. These organizations have included the YMCA, Boys and Girls Clubs, Job Corp, and the Culver City Police Department.

We have provided training to numerous conferences, including the California Charter School Conference, California Leagues of Middle and High Schools, California Association of Supervisors of Child Welfare and Attendance, and the Council of Black Administrators.