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Gov. Scott Signs Bill Aimed At Helping Foster Kids Get Driver Licenses

MGN Online

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.

Sascha Cordner has more than ten years of public radio experience. It includes working at NPR member station WUFT-FM in Gainesville for several years. She's worked in both radio and TV, serving in various capacities as a reporter, producer and anchor. She's also a graduate of the University of Florida with a bachelor's degree in telecommunications. She is the recipient of 15 awards from the Associated Press, Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), and Edward R. Murrow. Her award-winning stories include her coverage on the infamous “Dozier School for Boys” and a feature titled "Male Breast Cancer: Lost in the Sea of Pink." Currently, Sascha serves as the host and producer of local and state news content for the afternoon news program "All Things Considered" at WFSU. Sascha primarily covers criminal justice and social services issues. When she's not reporting, Sascha likes catching up on her favorite TV shows, singing and reading. Follow Sascha Cordner on Twitter:@SaschaCordner.