4/19 - Effective immediately, masks are not required to use EMBARK's buses, streetcars, ferries, or access the Transit Center.

Climb Ride Program Report Links Public Transit to Positive Child Welfare Case Outcomes

May 6, 2022

In 2019, EMBARK launched Climb Ride - a pilot programtoremove transportation as a barrier to Oklahoma County parents working toward reunification with their children through the Department of Human Services Child Welfare. Lack of transportation prevents many families from completing the DHS reunification programs.  During the pilot, the program helped reunite 22 families, saving the state up to $30,000 per case in foster care services and support, resulting in quicker family reunifications.  

Climb Ride provides participants access to a comprehensive suite of transportation options to complete their court-ordered services. The funding for the pilot program comes from a Transportation Innovation Grant (TIG) through the Arnall Family Foundation. EMBARK, along with the Community Transportation Association of America, and the Oklahoma Transit Association, submitted a joint grant application to develop the program. Designed to serve families in the child welfare system, the multi-partner program is scalable and replicable for other social services. 

"One of EMBARK's core values is to Be Therewhich translates into showing up with our whole hearts - eager to learn and ready to serve our community and each other,” said Jason Ferbrache, EMBARK Administrator. "The Climb Ride program is a reflection of our transit professionals putting our values in action. Already, we have seen lives change for the better. Public transportation is essential for a modern city to thrive. We know that where EMBARK’s public transit services go, our community grows." 

Oklahoma County DHS strives to reunify 55% of its families within 12 months. When a family uses Climb Ride, EMBARK works with participants to find existing transportation options or on-demand services to help DHS families attend visitations, education, or rehabilitation services to reduce the time families are apart. Nearly 6,300 trips were completed during the pilot phase of the program. 

"The Climb Ride program is a great example of what can be done to improve human services program outcomes and reduce costs," said Scott Bogren, CTAA Executive Director. "We look forward to seeing how the work done in Oklahoma City can be replicated across the country and further demonstrate how transit agencies bring real value to their community. We greatly appreciate the ongoing partnership with EMBARK, the Oklahoma Transit Association and the Arnall Family Foundation in the creation, development and operation of Climb Ride.” 

The Arnall Family Foundation currently funds the pilot program. Sue Ann Arnall, founder of the Arnall Family Foundation, says the organization seeks out programs to create long-term support and lasting change.

"Developing innovative, scalable solutions to close gaps in services and lower barriers is paramount to improving outcomes for marginalized individuals in our community," said Arnall. "With safe, reliable transportation provided by the Climb Ride program, families in Oklahoma County have access to services, which leads to faster reunification at a lower cost for the state. This model and the opportunity to replicate it to support other social service efforts signify hope for healing and restoration in our community."

EMBARK is pursuing additional funding to sustain and grow the Climb Ride program.

For more information on the Climb Ride program, visit  https://embarkok.com/climb-ride 


EMBARK is the business unit of the Central Oklahoma Transportation & Parking Authority (COTPA) – a public trust administered by the City of Oklahoma City.  

EMBARK's vision is to be world-class transportation that is accessible to all, and all want to access it. EMBARK's mission is to be a self-sustaining transportation network that removes barriers of location and socioeconomic status, while elevating the status and use of public transportation so all of central Oklahoma can safely and quickly reach their destination. 


View the 2022 Climb Ride Report

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