Answers to Questions
We serve victims and new survivors of intimate partner violence, domestic abuse, and family violence.
Our primary service is providing one-way transportation.
All clients need to be in a safe location for pickup such as a shelter, police station, fire station or busy public store or restaurant. See our list of safe places for ideas.
Travel must originate from inside the North Texas area, East Texas, or Upper Coastal region. See our service area map.
Victims needing a car ride to a domestic violence shelter are limited in distance of up to 3 hours of driving, or 200 miles away from the Families to Freedom office. We require to confirm acceptance to the shelter before travel begins.
Only one travel to leave the state of Texas to arrive to a family home may be honored regardless of the method of travel service, the cost associated, and the distance one goes leaving the state.
The destination must be to a domestic violence shelter, or to a family home. For home arrivals, we must have proof of residence from the friend or family member before travel begins. Transitional housing program is also an approved destination regardless of the distance.
We will also accommodate leaving from a domestic violence shelter to a transitional housing dwelling or agency. Verification of acceptance is required. We cannot move furniture.
Traveling clients must be 18 years or older. We cannot travel with children without a parent.
We can travel with pets and require them to be in a crate.
For liability and logistics purposes, our volunteers cannot ride in or drive a victim’s personal vehicle.
We may offer a Greyhound bus ticket for those traveling without children. Tickets are generally booked one week ahead of departure.
Time for departure varies. A ride to shelter from our Directory of Shelters is typically honored the same day, unless that shelter is out-of-state. A ride to a home in another state may take days before departure pending volunteer availability. Bus tickets are typically booked one week in advance. Fuel cards need to be reserved at least 1 day before departure.
Travel by car/van is based on volunteer driver availability; therefore, we are unable to guarantee same day service for multi-hour driving trips. The farther the distance for travel, the longer it may take to find a driver for that trip.
We ask callers who will be traveling with children if they are aware of their custodial or parental rights.
Services are offered to men and women equally.
We do not transport non-sheltered trafficked or sex crime victims at this time. Call Rescue Her or Unbound for help leaving from a non-shelter location. We do assist survivors of trafficking from a domestic violence shelter to a new safe place.
We do not relocate furniture. We cannot rent nor pull a trailer.
We do not support travel to be with or near an abuser.
We do not provide service for couples, nor callers with the support of an intimate partner in their destination area or departure area.
We do not offer travel to Hawaii, Alaska, or Puerto Rico. We can help a client get to a US border but our volunteers cannot cross that border. Clients intending to cross a US border need to study the requirements and laws regarding border crossing with children.
Meals for clients being driven by a volunteer more than 4 hours away are paid for and limited to $15/person per meal.
Fuel Assistance clients are responsible for food, lodging and mechanical needs during their travel.
Fuel Assistance fuel cards must be requested at least one-day in advance.
Fuel assistance clients have no limit to the fuel amount used to arrive at a destination. Fuel transactions are monitored. Local use of fuel with our fuel assistance card is theft and considered a crime.
The only shelters we accommodate arriving to are domestic violence facilities that confirms to accept. Arriving to a shelter as a new resident inside the DFW metroplex or Houston metro area will be honored as many times as needed. Arriving to a shelter located an hour or more outside a metro area can be honored up to 3 times in a year (12 months). Arriving to shelter located in a bordering state, or more than 3 hours drive away, can only be honored 2 times in a year (12 months). Arriving to a family home in another state may be honored a second time after 2 years from the first travel, or sooner if compelled by CPS.
Travel to shelter outside of the DFW metroplex or Houston metro area is limited to a 200 mile radius, or 3 hours’ drive. Exceptions may be granted for men victims seeking to arrive to a men's shelter and to those with pets going to a domestic violence shelter that accommodates pets. Clients seeking to arrive to another shelter by bus still need a 1 week wait for departure. Fuel assistance clients going to shelter in another state still need to give us one day’s notice before departure.
We will honor picking up callers from a homeless shelter but do not honor arrivals to a homeless shelter.
Shelter clients without children and capable of independent travel may be offered a bus ticket.
We recommend bringing up the topic of travel early in a shelter client’s stay to avoid waiting past an exit date.
Advocates and case managers may call ahead to inquire about qualification and scheduling for a client before formal intake. We must hear the client’s voice requesting service and complete our own intake.
We must hear the client’s voice requesting service. An advocate’s request on behalf of a client is insufficient.
We can pick up a shelter client directly from the shelter or from a mutually agreed public location.
Clients arriving to a shelter will be driven directly to the shelter property or to an attended counseling or administrative office. Families to Freedom drivers will not drop-off shelter clients to police stations for police escort, nor to hospitals or other public places for a taxi or rideshare service for arrival to shelter.
Shelter personnel will be notified at least 30 minutes in advance for pickup or arrival.
We use 3-way conference calling with the client on the phone line to verify acceptance to shelter. Written consent for release of information may be obtained at the time of picking up the client if she/he elects to sign that.
We are primarily funded by community donors such as friends, neighbors, family and contributing volunteers. We also seek grants from various sources.
State funds afford for part-time office staff.
We serve and collaborate with all area domestic violence shelters, hospitals, police advocates, Child Protective Services, and other organizations serving victims of domestic violence.
We have a small office in Dallas area and soon a small office in Houston (coming in 2022).
Any donated item that cannot be used for the direct benefit of a traveling client is passed on to another local organization with a need for that item.
Donors of Families to Freedom support all costs of travel such as fuel, food, motel and vehicle costs. Clients do not pay for transportation.
Volunteer drivers must: pass a criminal background check, pass a driving background check, have a valid driver’s license, be 21 years of age or older, and be comfortable with highway driving.
Volunteers may use their own personal vehicles to travel with a client or one of our vehicles. We recommend to use a vehicle we provide for multi-state travel to avoid wear and tear in your own personal vehicle.
There are volunteer positions available that do not require passing a background check. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to inquire about your options.
There are some volunteer positions that can be done from home.
Volunteer orientation may be conducted in-person or by video conference. Orientation is a requirement.
Orientation typically takes 60-90 minutes. Driver training takes around 3 hours.
Phone Advocates take calls from our office during normal business hours. Client travel may be scheduled for any day or hour.