Pushing the Pace of Progress, Part 1

The Colorado Sun recently published an important article highlighting the gap between noble intentions and real world outcomes when it comes to foster youth transportation.

Because they so often move from home to home, foster youth struggle with stability in all aspects of life, including education. Frequent school changes disrupt learning continuity and social connections, further disadvantaging foster children.

To mitigate this, the foster provisions within the 2015 Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) required states and local education agencies (LEAs) to create plans to ensure that foster students are provided transportation to their “school of origin” when it’s determined to be in their best interest.

As part of its own ESSA accountability plan, Colorado passed a law funding foster transportation up to $2.75 million for the 2018-2019 school year, leading the charge as the first state to do so and reinforcing its reputation as one of the most progressive states in the nation when it comes to student transportation.

The Colorado Sun reports that halfway through the year, only 2% of the allocated amount has been billed to the state, and only 2 of 64 counties have submitted reimbursements that demonstrate an understanding of the funding mechanism.

The article suggests that this is evidence that ESSA implementation is lagging at the county and district level, and that there are still many foster kids in Colorado pin-balling from school to school despite the fact that funds and services exist to let them settle in, learn, and thrive.

But there may be more to this story.

Other possible explanations for these attention-getting metrics could include a concentration of foster students in just several counties, infrequent but otherwise normal reimbursement cycles, or the expansion of bus routes or other modes to accommodate and transport more foster students. Certainly, if the complexity of Colorado’s funding mechanism is frustrating counties and districts and keeping foster services out of play for kids, that’s a problem that should be urgently addressed.

We’ll dig deeper, and follow up soon with a second installment to this post to tell you what we’ve found. Please watch this space.

In the meantime, you can find your own state’s plan for ESSA accountability here.

-Qiana Patterson

Senior Director of Public Private Partnerships, HopSkipDrive

HopSkipDrive Partners with CASA of Los Angeles for National Foster Care Month


At HopSkipDrive, we're committed to making family life a little easier--for all kinds of families. HopSkipDrive currently works with organizations like Los Angeles County Office of Education (LACOE) and CASA of Los Angeles to provide transportation for foster youth across Los Angeles and Orange Counties. Often times, foster children are placed in care outside of their home school district, which can make getting to school challenging. HopSkipDrive provides direct and reliable transportation for these children to get to and from school, often more timely than city bus schedules allow. For a child who's been uprooted from their family, the ability to attend their home school offers a sense of normalcy and consistency during times of uncertainty. 


In celebration of National Foster Care month, HopSkipDrive is proud to partner with CASA of Los Angeles. CASA of Los Angeles supports children in LA County’s child welfare system who have experienced abuse and neglect by recruiting, training and managing CASA volunteers (CASAs) to advocate on behalf of these children. Their volunteers become well acquainted with their child and circumstances, advocate for their best interests, (including making recommendations to the Court), encourage them to grow to their fullest potential and become involved in key issues in their life such as school, health, and mental health issues.  A large focus is on finding a permanent placement which often is successful only through the hard work achieved by the CASA volunteer. Their most significant accomplishments happen every day—when an overlooked opportunity is found, a service is secured or an adult connection is made that will help to keep a child safe and give him or her an opportunity to succeed in life.

Please join us in raising awareness for the incredible work and crucial services CASA provides to foster youth. HopSkipDrive will donate a portion of proceeds for every ride you take during the month of May––the more rides families take, the more money we donate. 

Click here to Book a Ride

Make a direct donation to CASA of Los Angeles, and HopSkipDrive will match your donation dollar for dollar, up to $2500. Donate directly to CASA here

The hours for child transportation logistics amount to a part-time job


HopSkipDrive released its second annual survey on the State of Back to School Transportation in America. We surveyed over 1,000 parents on their struggle to manage their child’s transportation logistics and we realized the coordination time alone can was equivalent to a part-time job.


"Our second annual survey confirms yet again what we hear from our customers and experience ourselves as working parents; managing family transportation logistics consumes a great deal of time and creates tremendous stress for families. When we looked at the actual number of hours spent coordinating logistics and actual driving time, it is the equivalent of a second job,” says Joanna McFarland, HopSkipDrive CEO and Co-Founder. “HopSkipDrive was created to solve this problem, reduce that time, and make life easier for families.”

We saw that:

The hours spent on weekly child transportation logistics are the equivalent of a part-time job for many families.

Getting everyone in the family where they need to go is stressful. “Back to school” often means “back in the car.” Parents spend so much time figuring out the logistics and doing the driving, it becomes a part-time job just to get everyone where they need to go.

  • 38% of parents spend more than 5 hours a week driving their kids and a third of those spend more than 10 hours.

  • 62% of parents manage the transportation logistics at least several times a week with almost 10% managing the logistics several times a day.

  • Child transportation logistics are a daily topic for 37% of families (sometimes more than once a day) and one in four families have these conversations several times a week.

  • 87% of parents juggle coordinating the transportation schedules between them and their partner. Of these parents, 75% of them are women managing the transportation logistics in the household.

Back to school means back to stress, conflicting priorities, and job risk for working parents.

Being in multiple places at once is impossible, and working parents stress themselves out trying to manage it all.

  • 2 out of 3 working parents say having to drive their kids somewhere disrupts their work on a regular basis. For 41% it’s a daily or weekly disruption.

  • 44% of parents are stressed out coordinating transportation at the beginning of the school year.

  • Of parents who reported spending 10 or more hours a week driving to and from school and/or extracurricular activities, 42% felt they have put their job at risk in order to meet their child’s transportation needs.

  • 24% of parents say their child is or may be missing out on important enrichment activities due to lack of reliable transportation.

“When it comes to their child’s transportation needs, parents don’t have many options,” says McFarland. “Of the parents we surveyed, 48% were unaware that rideshare services like Uber and Lyft are not licensed to transport unaccompanied minors, even though it’s against their policies. Safety is our number one priority for children and all CareDrivers must pass a highly selective 15-point driver certification that goes above and beyond industry standards, so you know your child is in safe hands.”

No More Driving? No Problem! HopSkipDrive is Here for Senior Citizens

When Lisa S.’s 89-year-old uncle wasn’t able to drive anymore, she didn’t know what she was going to do. She’d been helping him out, but transportation was a real challenge. That’s when a friend suggested HopSkipDrive.

“For older people, that higher level of care is really nice. It’s useful to be able to plan it in advance. I can give instructions to go to the front door. And I know if they don’t see him, they can call me,” Lisa shared.

As more and more of us find ourselves in the “sandwich” generation taking care of kids and our older relatives, the added stress can have a big impact. According to Talis S. who uses HopSkipDrive, “I have kids in high school and had seen it at our school and talked to some of the drivers. I love that I can schedule rides, I get notifications when they’re on their way, and know when she’s picked up. I appreciate all the same things I would for my 10-year-old. It’s just for my 90-year-old mother.”

Our senior riders seem to love the freedom HopSkipDrive offers them, too. Lisa notes, “My uncle is still a vibrant, active guy. He likes to go out to lunch every day, but he’s not about to pick up a smartphone. I can set it all up and he likes that it’s just very simple.”

If you have an older loved one that isn’t driving anymore, a HopSkipDrive CareDriver may be the perfect transportation solution. All you have to do is add your senior riders to your account or help them set up their own account. Rides can be scheduled right on the website or through the app. However you want to do it, we’ll get them where they need to go!

Parenting Just Got a Little Easier — Schedule Same-day HopSkipDrive Rides

Planning ahead as a parent can be next to impossible. We get it. We struggle, too!  That’s why the HopSkipDrive team has been busy working on a much requested improvement—same day ride scheduling. Be sure to download the latest version of the HopSkipDrive app to take advantage of this scheduling benefit. iPhone | Android 

For rides after 10am, you can now create them the day of, as long as it’s at least 8 hours before the pickup. And your carpool friends have an extra half hour to accept their invitation, too (by 7 ½ hours before pickup).

Now you don’t have to worry about that panicked moment just as you’re falling asleep when you realize you don’t have a way to get the kids to tutoring at 3pm the next day. You can request a ride, as long as you do it before 7am the next morning. Or maybe on the way to school your child tells you about the extra practice they have that afternoon that they forgot to mention. HopSkipDrive can help!

Of course, the earlier you set up your rides the more time you allow for a CareDriver match. And morning rides still need to be booked by 7pm the night before. But we’re making progress! We hope it helps make your life easier, too.  

MultiDads Are MVPs

While we made a MultiMom video, the truth is there are lots of dads out there who are multitasking miracle workers, too.

Lots of you are busy scheduling baseball or ballet, making sure homework is complete, permission slips are signed, and dinner is on the table on time. And plenty of you MultiDads use HopSkipDrive to help get your busy family where it needs to go safely and reliably.

Here are just a few fabulous MultiDads we know:

Victor E. has used HopSkipDrive to get his kids to school and home, and he estimates HopSkipDrive saves him 1 ½-hours per day because it means he doesn’t have to fight traffic in their West Los Angeles neighborhood.

“This busy dad can start dinner and have it ready when the kids get home (when they’re always starving),” Victor says. “As the owner of two businesses, I’m managing a lot of people and clients, and HopSkipDrive frees me up to finish the day strong and not shut down early.”

Aaron P. is the father of triplets, and he has used HopSkipDrive for his kids’ after-school transportation. “I’m confident about safety, and I think the price is fair,” Aaron says. “It allows my wife and I to each work full-timejobs and enables us to focus on family and career goals simultaneously.”

Eric K. has a busy career in the video game industry, and his daughter is a black belt in taekwondo and practices several times per week. “With HopSkipDrive, I know I can safely and comfortably get my daughter to her taekwondo classes without having to leave

work early in order to drive her myself,” Eric says. “I can stay at the office and get things done, knowing my daughter is OK.”

To celebrate all MultiMoms and MultiDads, we’re offering you the chance to win a month of free HopSkipDrive rides*, a One Potato three-night meal box to make dinner easy, or three free doctor housecalls from Heal** with our #MultiMom Sweepstakes!

It’s easy to enter the #MultiMom Sweepstakes. All you have to do is share the video on Facebook or Twitter with the hashtag #MultiMom. Be sure to set the "Who should see this?" on your post to Public so we can see it, too.

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Are You a MultiMom? Watch, Share and Enter to Win!

For most moms, multitasking is a way of life: Need to help a child with a science project while cooking dinner and booking summer camp? No problem.

But even the best multitasking moms sometimes feel like they need to clone themselves to get everything done — what do you do when one kid has a soccer playoff game across town, the other has theater rehearsal, and you have a late meeting?

The choices can feel bleak: ask another mom for a favor (again), miss work, or hope that someone invents cloning technology very soon.

We fantasized about that cloning technology, but then got real. And that’s where HopSkipDrive came in. HopSkipDrive takes kids (ages 6 and up) wherever they need to go with fully background-checked and experienced caregivers. Our goal was to help you get your busy kids to school and to all their activities safely and dependably, freeing you up to do everything else you need to do to keep your family functioning.

Whether you’re one of those rockstar parents that can pull off miracles to make everything happen — from homework to ballet performances, basketball practice, piano lessons and everything else (like work!) in between — or, if you’re like the rest of us and struggling to hold it together, we’re celebrating you!

You are the MultiMoms (and dads) who are out there getting it done. And while we can’t replicate you to make life a little less stressful, we can give you the chance to win some clutch parenting resources — Enter for a chance to win one of three prizes: a month of free HopSkipDrive rides, a One Potato three-night meal box, or three free doctor housecalls from Heal*!

It’s easy to enter the #MultiMom Sweepstakes. All you have to do is share our MultiMom video on Facebook or Twitter with the hashtag #MultiMom. Be sure to set the "Who should see this?" on your post to Public so we can see it.

Multitasking Parents Unite!


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*Must live in areas served to win. Up to $500 worth of HopSkipDrive rides and must be used within a 30-day period, New Heal customers only Sweepstakes ends Feb 27, 2017  | See Official Rules for Details


Parenting Help That Preserves Precious Family Time

With two busy careers that keep their work days full, Tammy McDaniel and Bob Ives were happy to discover that HopSkipDrive could get their kids where they need to go safely and reliably.

McDaniel says she loves being able to follow the ride on the app, and she especially appreciates the way safety is built into every step. “The main reason I use HopSkipDrive is because of the background check on all drivers,” McDaniel says.

And here’s another benefit she didn’t expect: extra family time.

“When we use HopSkipDrive, I’m not dropping one kid off — and then my husband going out and getting the other one — and then everyone getting home a little later than normal,” McDaniel says. “If both kids are home when we get home, we have dinner at a normal time, and we all get to spend some time together before homework and showers and bed.”

McDaniel estimates they get about two more hours of family time in any given day by using HopSkipDrive.

McDaniel and Ives use HopSkipDrive to get their daughter, Isabella (age 15), to friends’ houses, to the mall in the summertime, and even to orthodontist and haircut appointments. During her rides, Isabella enjoys chatting with her favorite CareDrivers about her activities.

Jason (age 11) has taken HopSkipDrive to get to soccer and other activities. “Some of the CareDrivers play music I listen to and sing along, and it makes the ride fun,” Jason says.

Kids come home happy, parents are less stressed: we call that a win-win for the family.



Save On HopSkipDrive Rides With Your FSA

Raising kids is expensive. And as parents, we’re always looking for ways to make the most of our budgets.

Here’s a great savings tip: your HopSkipDrive rides may qualify as an eligible expense for your dependent care flexible spending account (FSA).

A dependent care FSA, offered by many companies as an employee benefit, allows parents to use pretax dollars to pay for some of the costs of child care. Using a dependent care FSA to pay for HopSkipDrive’s ride service may mean a savings of up to 30%, depending on your tax rate.

HopSkipDrive’s ride service may qualify as an eligible expense for dependent care FSAs because HopSkipDrive CareDrivers are experienced caregivers who provide child care while they’re providing transportation for your child.

Make sure to consult your FSA administrator to see if your HopSkipDrive rides qualify as an eligible expense under your plan.

Read more about how HopSkipDrive rides may qualify as an eligible expense for your FSA in this Kiplinger article.

How To Book Your Carpool With HopSkipDrive

Parent-driven carpools can be stressful — from coordinating who can drive when, to the risk of last minute cancellations. Now there’s an easier way: HopSkipDrive can do carpool for you!

By scheduling your carpool with HopSkipDrive, you can invite friends to ride along with just a few clicks. It’s great for groups that need to get to school, sports, activities or anywhere at all safely and dependably.

And here’s some even better news: by booking a HopSkipDrive carpool, you’ll also save big —  discounts start at almost 40% and increase with each family added to the carpool.

It’s so easy to set up a carpool on the HopSkipDrive app. We’ve created this handy how-to video here, so you can learn more:

Happy carpooling!

Helping make life easier for all busy families this holiday season

At HopSkipDrive it’s our mission to help make life easier for busy families — all busy families. That’s why we were pleased to donate rides for Alexandria House residents on a special outing to children’s play space Pamper & Play earlier this month in Los Angeles.

Alexandria House is a transitional residence for single women and their children in the process of moving from emergency shelter to permanent housing. The organization provides a home and supportive community for approximately 24 women and children in central Los Angeles.

“We knew Alexandria House because we’ve volunteered for this nonprofit through our own families’ schools and religious organizations,” said HopSkipDrive Co-founder Carolyn Yashari Becher. “So we were delighted to donate these rides and support these moms as a great reminder that we are part of a larger community.”

While their kids were under the care of CPR-certified play supervisors at Pamper & Play, Alexandria House residents were treated to salon treatments by Frances Diaz from nearby Ladurée hair salon.

About 20 residents from Alexandria House participated in the event.

“They took care of us and it was a great event. The moms were all raving about it,” said Barbara White, Alexandria House Development Associate. “The drivers were so wonderful. They were friendly helpful and patient. They were right on time, very efficient and very sweet and kind.”

Along with the rides donated for the event, HopSkipDrive employees also donated approximately 50 boxes of feminine products and assorted toiletries to Alexandria House and 46 pounds of food to the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank.

Set it and forget it with repeating rides


Scheduling kids’ activities sometimes feels like a full-time job! As busy parents, we’re always looking for ways to simplify all the planning.

That’s why we’re excited to announce that you can now book repeating rides right from the HopSkipDrive website, iOS app and Android app.

Need to get your child from school to tennis lessons at the same time every Wednesday? No problem — with a few simple clicks you can create weeks, months, or even a semester of repeating rides.

Here’s what to do:
• Login and click to book a ride
• Click on “Do you want this ride to repeat?”
• Select the weekday of the repeating ride and the date it should end

The HopSkipDrive website is chock-full of features that make it easy for you to schedule and manage your rides: you can view your upcoming and completed rides, review CareDriver information when your ride is matched, cancel or edit rides and manage your location information. And new features are being added every day!

It really is so easy to book your rides on the HopSkipDrive website or app.  Now if it were just that simple to get them all signed up for everything...

Recent Press

HopSkipDrive has been in the news lately for helping families find some balance amidst all the busy. See what the media has had to say:


A team giving you real-time peace of mind

When a child steps into a HopSkipDrive car, the first person he or she meets is the CareDriver — an experienced caregiver who has been fingerprinted and gone through a highly selective 15-point certification process. But before the CareDriver and rider even hit the road, an entire team has also “hopped on” that ride, monitoring it virtually from HopSkipDrive headquarters in Los Angeles.

Meet the HopSkipDrive Support team. This unique group of professionals is here to help make sure every kid is transported safely and securely during every ride.

Why have a team monitoring rides? “It’s part of HopSkipDrive’s larger commitment to safety. As moms with kids in these cars, too, we wanted all the safety measures in place to give parents the kind of peace of mind they deserve,” says CEO and Co-founder Joanna McFarland.

This team of experienced customer service professionals can be found on a big pod of computers at HopSkipDrive HQ, huddling in front of screens, monitoring rides and communicating with parents and drivers to make sure riders get where they need to go safely and efficiently. Think of it as kid traffic control.

Using  custom technology to track rides and communicate with parents and drivers, the team assists in locating addresses, shares additional instructions about pick-ups and drop-offs, and supports the ride in any way that might be needed. It’s no wonder parents appreciate the personal touch the team provides. One parent told a Support agent he was “worth his weight in gold” for providing additional information to a driver regarding a ride that day.  And that’s just a small fraction of the appreciation parents and CareDrivers have for these behind-the-scenes heroes. It’s hard to put a value on having a pro team monitoring every ride from start to finish

One family's HopSkipDrive story

Kid’s gotta dance? The Mosley family knows the feeling.

Carly, age 12, has been a serious dancer for more than five years. She does jazz, contemporary, lyrical, hip hop and ballet, and her teams have won numerous awards.

Getting to daily rehearsals at The Rage in Granada Hills was no problem when the family lived closer to the studio. But when they moved nearly 20 miles away two years ago, the trek became  a challenge.

Carly’s mom, Jennifer, tried enrolling Carly in a local studio near the family’s new home, but things just weren’t the same.

“She missed her friends, teachers and her studio terribly,” Jennifer said, “but I work in Glendale, and I couldn’t leave work early every day to go pick her up and drive her to dance.”

Then she found HopSkipDrive. Jennifer loved the idea of having fingerprinted, background checked and experienced caregivers driving Carly to and from her dance classes.“            

I came upon HopSkipDrive and it literally saved us,” Jennifer said. “Carly was able to go back to the studio she loves, and I don’t have to leave work early to pick her up.”                                                     

Carly takes HopSkipDrive to dance rehearsal several times a week these days. Her younger brother, Jacob (age 10), often rides along so he can get to his jiu-jitsu class nearby.

“I get to have peace of mind knowing they’ll get to their destinations on time and safely,” Jennifer said.

For this dancing family, HopSkipDrive has all the right moves.

A fresh, clean backpack. The perfect first-day outfit. Everything during Back to School time feels new—the teachers, the schedule, the possibilities. Except when it comes to getting kids all the places they have to go. As parents ourselves, we’re all too familiar with the challenges that come with back to school — the early morning departures, making sure all the homework, uniforms, projects, signed permission slips, and everything they’ll need that day is in the car. It all adds a layer of stress that we were certainly glad to leave behind during the lazy days of summer. And now it’s back.

We know the struggle is real. We started HopSkipDrive to solve our own transportation challenges with 8 kids, 5 schools, and 17 extra-curricular activities between us. We knew we weren’t alone, but this back to school season we decided to find out just how big a challenge this is for other families. So we asked 1,001 parents with kids ages 6 to 17 what they thought. And, yep, our families aren’t that unique. It’s a universal struggle. Our hearts go out to everyone facing this challenge in the coming weeks. We’re right there with you!

Here is what we found out:

All the hours in the car are a challenge (and employers aren’t too happy)

  • For 20% of parents, managing their child’s transportation schedule is the worst part of going back to school.

  • Parents are spending lots of time driving their kids to school and all of their activities. In fact, 44% of parents surveyed spend more than 5 hours per week in the chauffeur seat.

  • In California, 16% of parents spend more than 10 HOURS driving their kids every week.

  • And the juggle is causing added professional stress. For 59% of parents, getting kids to their activities affects their work schedule on at least a monthly basis. For 40% it’s happening at least weekly.

  • According to 26% of parents, they have put their job at risk to meet their child’s transportation needs.

Conflicting priorities are making us more stressed out

  • Work schedules and kids’ activities are often in direct conflict. For 46% of parents, their professional demands have prevented their child from participating in extracurriculars.

  • And the burden is almost equally shared by moms and dads (hooray for broken stereotypes) — 43% of dads and 48% of moms have had to put work ahead of their kids’ interests.

Without dependable transportation, it’s even harder

  • It’s clear that getting kids where they need to go is a huge burden when 35% of parents feel that managing their child’s transportation schedule is more stressful than doing their taxes! The fact that transportation stresses span the year instead of just one month may have something to do with it.

  • Or, the intensity of the pain point may be because 29% of parents believe their current transportation is somewhat or not dependable.

  • While meant to ease the burden, parent-driven carpools often add to it for the 23% of parents that say their carpool arrangements fall through at least once a month.

Hearing from all of these parents how hard transportation is this time of year makes our mission at HopSkipDrive clearer than ever: we are the safe, dependable solution parents can count on to get their kids where they need to go when they can’t do it themselves. We’re here to help! As those school bells start ringing once again, HopSkipDrive can ease the burden and let families focus on all the excitement and newness headed their way.

Welcome back to school, everyone!