GOOD NEWS FOR FLORIDA’S FOSTER CHILDREN

June 5, 2017

Effective May 1, 2017, a temporary program under Florida law allowing children in foster care to obtain driver licenses has been amended and made permanent.  Chapter 2017-8, Laws of Florida, amends parts of Chapters 409, 39, and 322 of the Florida Statutes.  What was originally a 3-year pilot program authorizing the Department of Children and Families to pay the costs of driver education, licensure and other costs incidental to licensure, and motor vehicle insurance for children in licensed out-of-home care is now a permanent program.  In addition, the new law now authorizes DCF to pay some of those costs for up to six months after a child who is eligible reaches permanency or turns 18 years of age.

Another feature of the new law is that in Judicial Review Hearings regarding a child who is 15 years of age or older, the Court must determine if appropriate steps are being taken for the child to obtain a driver license or learner’s permit.  Also, a Guardian Ad Litem for the child may be authorized to sign the application for the child’s learner’s permit.

The Legislature had determined that costs related to obtaining a driver license created a barrier to foster children being able to obtain employment, complete educational goals, engage in normal activities and gain independence.

This bill was approved by Governor Scott and became law on May 1, 2017.

Click the following link for the full text of the new law: http://laws.flrules.org/2017/8

Attorney Richard “Jake” Jackson has been in private practice in Volusia County serving the legal needs of the Central Florida community since 1985.  Call us at (386) 738-1111 to schedule a consultation in our DeLand office.

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