Metro hosted a press event this morning about a new program offering mobility to L.A. County youths transitioning out of the foster care system. It’s called Youth on the Move and it’s the first of its kind in the U.S. Here’s the release:
L.A. County Supervisor and new Metro Board Chair Michael Antonovich was joined today by County and Metro officials and foster youths in announcing an innovative new transit pass program — the first of its kind in the country — to benefit young people emerging from the Los Angeles County Foster Care system.
The new program, called Youth on the Move, is a one-year pilot to determine the feasibility of this important addition to Metro’s transit pass options. Youth on the Move offers free passes to foster youths participating in the Los Angeles County Youth Self-Sufficiency Program that helps them transition from foster care to independent living.
The Youth on the Move idea was introduced to the Metro Board by L.A. County Supervisor and Metro Board Chair Antonovich and subsequently approved for the one-year test by the Metro Board.
“County government must work effectively and efficently to prepare foster and probation youth for a successful transition to productive adulthood,” said Supervisor Antonovich. “This new countywide transit pass program — aimed specifically at foster youths transitioning to adulthood — is designed to be a tool to help them continue their education, search for work and be able to accept work in any part of our county.”
The new pass program began pre-testing in June when about 20 foster youths between the ages of 18 and 21 were issued Mero passes and EZ transit passes. (EZ passes are valid on Metro bus and rail, as well as on many other carriers inLos AngelesCounty.) The program is launching today and as many as 2,000 young people could ultimately benefit from the pilot program this year.
All of the youths in the new Metro program are self sufficient, meaning that they are no longer living with a family or are transitioning out of a group home setting. And all are either employed, looking for work, going to school or, in some cases, all three.
Participants are being issued special TAP transit cards with photos that allow them to travel anywhere in Los Angeles County. Should the cards be lost they can be replaced, since individual users are registered and their passes protected. Distribution of the passes and trip data will be collected and used to help determine the success of the program.