HB 977 (2014)

  • 3 year pilot program - $800,000 fiscal
  • To pay costs associated with obtaining driver’s license and for insurance
  • Eligible youth must be in out-of-home care (15-21)
  • Allows minors in foster care to execute contracts as adults for the purpose of insurance
  • Obtain insurance - own policy if 18, purchase through FAJUA, will reimburse foster parents if on their policy [More on insurance]

Keys to Independence program

  • 2016 Annual Report
  • before law only 20 youth 16 & 17 yrs old obtained licenses
  • Number of FL youth in foster care (16 and 17) with a driver’s license has tripled (in less than two years of program)
  • 571 actively enrolled at some level
  • Events achieved (Y1 and Y2): 192 completed 4 - hours course, 126 learner’s licenses, 86 drivers ed, 90 driver’s licenses, 39 insurance

Barriers remaining: 

> Foster Parent Concerns: While most licensed foster parents are generally supportive of youth in their care participating in the program, many have concerns about liability should the youth be involved in an accident. Even if a youth in foster care has his/her own auto insurance policy, should the youth have an accident while driving a household vehicle, Florida law dictates that the insurance of the owner’s vehicle may be sued for damages. Fortunately, the law also provides two explicit protections for foster parents. First, s. 409.1454, Florida Statutes, prohibits a caregiver from being liable if the caregiver uses a prudent parent standard in approving a youth’s activities. Second, s. 322.09(4), Florida Statutes, exempts foster parents of a minor, an authorized representative of a residential group home at which the minor resides, or the caseworker at the agency from assuming any obligation or liability for any damages by signing the license application.

> Eligibility: over 60% have had to drop out of the program because they change placement or age out and are no longer in an out-of-home placement. (Eligibility does include extended foster care)

Liability Insurance for Foster Parents

         Fla. Stat. Ann. § 393.075

(1) As used in this section, the term children means those persons under the age of 18 years.

(2) The Division of Risk Management of the Department of Financial Services shall provide coverage through the agency to any person who owns or operates a foster care facility or group home facility solely for the agency, who cares for children placed by the agency, and who is licensed pursuant to s. 393.067 to provide such supervision and care in his or her place of residence. The coverage shall be provided from the general liability account of the State Risk Management Trust Fund. The coverage is limited to general liability claims arising from the provision of supervision and care of children in a foster care facility or group home facility pursuant to an agreement with the agency and pursuant to guidelines established through policy, rule, or statute. Coverage shall be subject to the limits provided in ss. 284.38 and 284.385, and the exclusions set forth therein, together with other exclusions as may be set forth in the certificate of coverage issued by the trust fund. A person covered under the general liability account pursuant to this subsection shall immediately notify the Division of Risk Management of the Department of Financial Services of any potential or actual claim.

(3) This section shall not be construed as designating or not designating that a person who owns or operates a foster care facility or group home facility as described in this section or any other person is an employee or agent of the state. Nothing in this section amends, expands, or supersedes the provisions of s.768.28.