Innovative New Metro Pass Program for Foster Youths Begins One-Year Test

 

L.A. County Supervisor and Metro Board Chair Michael Antonovich with Youth on the Move participants (from left) Miani Giron, Norma Lathan and Tommy Dias. Photo by Anna Chen/Metro

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.

8 replies

  1. This sounds like a good idea, hopefully it lasts longer than the one year pilot. There are a lot of youths that could benefit from this program.

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  2. Great idea! !

    18 may be the age of majority, but most of us did not leave home abruptly at that age. Smoothing the transition will help these young folks become successful.

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  3. Metro: “We will be giving out free passes to foster children!”

    Fineprint: The TAP cards will expire in three years and the foster children would have to fork over $2 when they come up for renewal because we don’t understand the concept that these cards are built to last ten years or more. The old cards you can throw away since we don’t understand the concept of recycling them back into the system like any other transit agency in the world.

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  4. Just a person,

    The same “fork over $2 every three years because these puppies expire even though they are made to last for ten years deal” applies to existing TAP cardholders as well as reduced fare TAP cards for seniors and students today as well.

    It’s nothing but a hidden tax to screw Metro riders for being in a captive market.

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  5. I do hope that these cards are issued as “temporary” and with frequent review to support continued necessity for the intended purpose. While it is probably of some value to provide a bridge for those who really need help to become productive citizens, it should not be viewed as just one more welfare program that will become an entitlement. Add these passes to food stamps and a beach blanket, then “check back in 3 years for your renewal.” After they “lose” their third pass and come back for reissued replacement I would suggest a wrist band format.

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