WASHINGTON – Senators Maggie Hassan (D-NH) and Todd Young (R-IN) reintroduced a bipartisan bill to help foster youth obtain driver’s licenses, a process which can be prohibitive to young people in foster care because of high costs and other barriers. The Foster Youth and Driving Act would create a grant to help foster youth obtain the practice and insurance necessary to get a driver’s license.
“Foster youth should not be held back from getting a drivers license because of financial barriers,” said Senator Hassan. “Getting a drivers license allows for greater independence and is one way to help foster youth thrive at school or work. This bipartisan bill will help ensure that foster youth who want to obtain a license are able to. I encourage our colleagues to join us in supporting this bill and in turn, supporting young people in foster care.”
“Given the hardships faced by young Hoosiers in the foster system, we should do all we can to ensure they have the tools necessary for future success. Our bill would remove some of the existing barriers these individuals face when obtaining a driver’s license,” said Senator Young.
Foster youth can face difficulties in accessing transportation and therefore education and employment – especially in rural areas. The Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative found that foster youth with driver’s licenses were more likely than their peers to attend school and more likely to work. Senator Hassan and Young’s Foster Youth and Driving Act would provide federal funding and technical assistance to states for foster youth to complete driver's education, obtain a driver's license, access car insurance, and purchase a vehicle.
The Foster Youth and Driving Act is supported by many state and national organizations, including: Alliance for Children’s Rights; Center for the Study of Social Policy; Child Welfare League of America; Children’s Advocacy Institute; Children’s Rights; Congressional Research Institute for Social Work Policy (CRISP); Embrace Families; First Focus Campaign for Children; FosterClub; John Burton Advocates for Youth; National Association of Counsel for Children; National Foster Youth Institute; Partners for Our Children, Think of Us; Treehouse; Youth Law Center; and Youth Villages.