New Law Helps Foster Kids Get Licensed to Drive

May 5, 2017

It’s expensive to become a licensed driver in Washington State. There are permitting fees, driver's ed classes, testing and insurance costs. For foster children or their caregivers it’s often a significant hurdle.

A bill signed by Governor Jay Inslee will reimburse caregivers or foster children for the costs associated with getting a driver's license.

Dawn Rains is Chief Policy & Strategy Officer at Treehouse, a nonprofit that works with foster children.

“Not having transportation is a key barrier in getting to school getting to work to social activities," Rains said. "All the things that young adults need to do in their lives."

Only three percent of foster kids get their driver's licenses by age 18 compared to 54-percent of their peers, Rains said. 

This situation is especially problematic since it’s often necessary for foster kids to become more independent much earlier in life, Rains said. 

The bill signed Friday will have the most impact where public transportation is more scarce like urban areas on the outskirts of King County. 

Copyright 2017 KUOW