Life Before, During And After Foster Care


I was a foster kid and now a kinship parent. My life before, during, & after foster care taught me a lot. Here's insight into the lives of the foster kids and foster parents of foster care.

Getting A Drivers License As A Foster Kid


  To many kids turning 16 is one of the most exciting days of their lives. With turning 16 comes getting a drivers license. It's the license of freedom all most every teenager looks forward to getting. Hours of driving with family members to get enough hours under the belt finally paying off. Unfortunately for many foster kids it's harder to obtain the goal of getting that freedom. For many foster kids turning 16 does not mean getting a drivers license.

 When I was placed into foster care the summer I was getting ready to turn 16. I didn't have my permit at that that point. My parents used it against me and used it in favor of their abuse. They would talk about how all the other kids would see me riding the bus while they were driving. Pretty soon I would be the oldest on the bus. I'm sure they also used that to control from me being able to leave the house as well. They said I didn't behave well enough to get my permit and would have to earn it. The problem was no matter what I could never do good enough to earn it.

 After I settled into our foster home I was told that I would eventually be able to get my permit. I had to wait for the proper documents from my caseworker but was eventually allowed to take the permit test. I hadn't had a chance to read the permit book yet but I decided to take the test anyway just because I was so excited. I eventually passed the permit test after having the time to study.

 Just because I had my permit didn't mean I could start practicing driving. I lived in a group home and I wasn't allowed to drive any of the vehicles. It wasn't a typical family situation where we had a family car. There could be up to 8 foster kids in the home and maybe foster parent bio kids so we had 15 passenger vans. I knew I had to buy a car and be able to pay for insurance if I wanted to be able drive. Finding a job as a foster kid can sometimes be pretty tough for a few reasons but I eventually found a job and started putting back money. After a lot of work and putting most of my money in savings, I found a pretty nice care that I could afford. Next came finding an insurance company. Since I was a foster kid I didn't have a parents insurance to be added to. I had to start my own plan which I remember costing me $189 a month not including the money I had to put down! Now I had a car, insurance and a job. Still I was not able to drive.

 I had to take a driving class as one of the stipulations before driving. This was for a couple of reasons. The main reasons being it was a requirement from my group home and I needed a certain number of driving hours before being able to take the driving test. Another good reason to take a driving class is because you get a discount on your insurance. After passing the class and getting my driving hours in with the instructor, I was able to take the driving test. I was extremely anxious with having the person ride along with me watching me every move. It caused me to mess up and I failed my first time around. My second time around was a little better, but it took me a third time to pass the test. Finally I could drive!

 I do want to point out that even though it took me three times to pass, I have 0 accidents and 0 tickets. I had many obstacles on my path to getting my driver's license. Many foster kids face the same situations sometimes with more difficulty.

3 comments:

  1. I love this! While I am sorry it is so hard for you and most foster kids to get a license, the amount of determination, perseverance, hard work and maturity you showed through this process is impressive! You should be extremely proud. Those can be rare qualities in young people today and I think it sets you apart from the crowd. I bet your life is and will be very successful.

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  2. I was not allowed to have a job or get a permit. None of the homes and group homes I lived in allowed it. In fact, none of the kids in any of the homes I lived in, of any type, were allowed to drive. I didn't have a job until I was already a mother and almost 18 years old. I took the class because it was part of the curriculum and a requirement for graduation. But I didn't get a license until I was almost 19 years old. A friend took me down and I got 1 wrong on the written and aced the driving..... without a single hour behind the wheel. Only because I had dreamed of it for so long it was part of me. I have been hit twice, but only received one ticket in my life.

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  3. Wow. This is good information to know. It is sad that you were not able to work through this process quicker or the people in your life that were supposed to support you were not doing that. I can imagine it is tough to track down forms of identification and birth certificates as well. Thanks,

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