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Transit Plan Puts Former Foster Youth in Driver's Seat

For many former Los Angeles foster youth learning to live on their own, just getting around town can be an expensive ordeal.

Now a new plan could make it easy to catch a bus or train and connect with work, school and family in Los Angeles County.

In August, the L.A. County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a program to provide free county-wide bus passes for former foster youth. Supervisor Mike Antonovich proposed the new program, which could benefit as many as 2,000 former foster youth in California's biggest county.

"Former foster youth have few resources and family to fall back on, and they're often stuck without a ride to work or school," said Public Counsel Staff Attorney Susan McClure, who testified in support of the program.

Public Counsel Speaks Out for Bus Pass Plan

Public Counsel supports the rights of transition age foster youth who are leaving the foster care system. McClure told supervisors about Jamie, a former foster youth living in South L.A. as she finishes high school, searches for a job and take care of her new baby. The bus pass would help her shuttle between day care, school and job training -- and stay in touch with her sisters in Whittier.

The passes would be distributed by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and the L.A. County Department of Children and Family Services. The County and stakeholders are currently working out all of the details and hope to have the plan ready for the spring of 2012.

"The County is cutting through the red tape to provide transportation and put youth in the driver’s seat in their lives,” said McClure.