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Youth on the Move - by Gianna Dahlia

Author: Emily Nichols | Alex Apodaca
Date: July 12, 2012

Imagine being a sixteen year old who doesn’t have that ride to the mall or even to school. Imagine being that teenager who can’t hang out with friends after school because you have a three mile walk home or two-hour long bus ride. That’s just another obstacle foster youth face every day. 

Recently the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) and Probation has launched a new program with Los Angeles Metro called Youth on the Move. This program provides foster and former foster youth with free transit passes for public transportation in the LA metro area. 

These passes will make it easier for 16-21 year old DCFS and Probation youth to utilize the Metro to attend college, vocational schools, work, volunteer, intern, go to court, visit siblings and other family, attend meetings, counseling, search for a job, and get involved in recreational and social activities. With these free passes, youth can depend on a reliable form of transportation, which increases their chances of getting a successful education- graduating high school and maybe even college. 

Right now a thirty-day pass for the Los Angeles Metro is $75 and $85 for a pass to travel on Metro bus, Metro Rail, and additional carriers. These rates far exceed a teen’s budget, let alone a youth in foster care. With less than half of former foster youth unemployed, even public transportation is out of their reach. Further, a job requires a reliable form of transportation, and if foster youth do not have access to transit, they may find it impossible to hold down a job. 

These free Metro passes seem to be a step towards insuring that foster youth on the move have access to safer, more secure forms of transportation. Which will hopefully help them find success and their place in the world.