Florida’s foster kids may soon have an easier time obtaining a driver’s license and auto insurance. Governor Rick Scott signed a bill into law aimed at doing just that Thursday.
Covering the cost of insurance is among the obstacles Guardian Ad Litem Executive Director Alan Abramowitz says Florida’s foster kids continually face in trying to learn to drive. And, he says the new law creating a three-year pilot program to help cover those costs will go a long way.
“Also, the fact that many kids could not get anyone to put them on their insurance, we actually made it so youth in foster care could get approval from the court in statute to contract for their own insurance. Also, we made money available for driving school, getting their learning permits, and all the costs associated with learning to drive and getting that driver’s license,” said Abramowitz.
According to Abramowitz, less than three percent of foster kids who leave the system have a driver’s license. The new law will take effect July 1st and is expected to cost $800,000.
The so-called “Keys To Independence Act” also builds upon legislation Scott signed last year allowing foster care kids to do every day activities, like going to a sleepover, without court approval.
“It’s so great that last year when they passed the ‘Normalcy Law’ or the ‘Let Kids Be Kids Law’ about how children could have normal lives, they haven’t stopped. They’re continuing to make sure children in foster care have the same ability to become productive members of society like everyone else. In this case, it’s given them the keys to independence,” Abramowitz added.
The sponsors of both efforts are Rep. Ben Albritton (R-Wauchula) and Sen. Nancy Detert (R-Venice).
For more news updates, follow Sascha Cordner on Twitter: @SaschaCordner.