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 driver’s license. It’s the license of freedom almost 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 driver’s 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 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 often facing more difficulty than I did.