Home » About West Orange Chamber » Blog and News » Embrace Families, Inc. Applauds Congressmen Davis and Bacon for Recognizing National Foster Care Month by Helping Foster Youth Gain Independence with Driver’s Licenses
Thu, June 04, 2020
The end of Foster Care Awareness Month brought with it a new beginning for thousands of foster children across America. Embrace Families enthusiastically supports the Foster Youth and Driving Act (H.R. 7042) recently introduced by Congressman Danny Davis (D-IL) and Congressman Don Bacon (R-NE) to promote access to driver’s licenses for foster youth.
Modeled on the successful Keys to Independence, or K2I program in Florida, the Foster Youth and Driving Act would create grants to help foster youth overcome the financial and practical obstacles that often prevent them from obtaining their permits and driver’s licenses.
In 2014 the Florida Legislature authorized a pilot program to promote access to driver’s licenses for youth in foster care. The K2I program has been part of a larger effort in Florida to bring greater normalcy to youth in foster care.
Embrace Families, Central Florida’s leading nonprofit organization overseeing child welfare services, was tasked with implementing K2I. Based on the program’s success, the Florida Legislature made the program permanent in 2017. This bill was signed into law by then Governor, now Senator, Rick Scott (R-FL).
“Having a driver’s license is more than a rite of passage. The ability to drive to work and school helps teens in foster care achieve real self-sufficiency,” says Glen Casel, president and CEO of Embrace Families. “Keys to Independence positions them for success by giving them the chance to participate in activities they might otherwise miss out on because of a lack of transportation.”
K2I has been an overwhelming success. Since the program was implemented in Florida, the number of youth in foster care with a driver’s license or permit has gone from 12 to 2064.
The “Foster Youth and Driving Act” builds on the K2I program and provides resources to allow foster kids in all 50 states to take advantage of this new transportation initiative.
Access to a driver’s licenses will allow youth in foster care to secure gainful employments, enhance their educational experiences and facilitate age appropriate social activities. It will lead to a more normal experience in foster care which will ultimately promote better outcomes for these vulnerable youth.
Embrace Families commends the leadership of the bill’s sponsors and encourages everyone to reach out to their representative and ask them to support H.R. 7042.