From the Iowa DHS Foster Parent Handbook

Driving: Every school district in Iowa must offer or make available to all students residing in the school district or Iowa students attending a non-public school in the district an approved driver education course.   In order for a youth to participate in Driver’s Education, a signed and notarized “Parental Consent to Drive” must be completed.  This is a Department of Transportation form that can be obtained from the school or the DOT.   Foster parents may not sign this form.  Contact the youth’s worker about getting this form signed.  Driver’s education fees are waived for the foster child.  Contact your insurance agent to see if the child is covered on your insurance while driving with a valid permit.

Auto Insurance: After a teen in foster care obtains a driver’s license, it is up to you to decide whether to allow the child to drive your car.  If you do allow the child to drive your car, you will need to add the child to your automobile insurance and pay additional insurance fees.  You may want to consider having the child pay all or part of the additional premium.

Vehicle Ownership: Foster children aged 16 or above may own their own vehicles.  However, when the child is in the custody or guardianship of the DHS or JCS, this should be discussed with the social worker or juvenile court officer.  A teen who purchases a car must carry insurance on the vehicle and have a valid driver’s license.  You need to verify that these conditions are met.

Driver’s Education Fee Waiver: Students who qualify for free or reduced-price school lunch also qualify for free or reduced fees for driver education.  Foster parents need to be aware that even if the school district contracts to have an approved driver education provider, the district still must provide free or reduced driver education fees to all free or reduced students in their district.

Liability Insurance for Foster Parents

Iowa Code Ann.§ 237.13

1. For the purposes of this section, foster home means an individual, as defined in section 237.1, subsection 7, who is licensed to provide child foster care and shall also be known as a licensed foster home.

2. The foster home insurance fund is created within the office of the treasurer of state to be administered by the department of human services. The fund consists of all moneys appropriated by the general assembly for deposit in the fund. The general fund of the state is not liable for claims presented against the fund. The department may contract with another state agency, or private organization, to perform the administrative functions necessary to carry out this section.

3. Except as provided in this section, the fund shall pay, on behalf of each licensed foster home, any valid and approved claim of foster children, their parents, guardians, or guardians ad litem, for damages arising from the foster care relationship and the provision of foster care services. The fund shall also compensate licensed foster homes for property damage, at replacement cost, or for bodily injury, as a result of the activities of the foster child, and reasonable and necessary legal fees incurred in defense of civil claims filed pursuant to subsection 6, paragraph d, and any judgments awarded as a result of such claims.  

4. The fund is not liable for any of the following: a. A loss arising out of a foster parent's dishonest, fraudulent, criminal, or intentional act. b. An occurrence which does not arise from the foster care relationship. c. A bodily injury arising out of the operation or use of a motor vehicle, aircraft, recreational vehicle, or watercraft owned, operated by, rented, leased, or loaned to, a foster parent. d. A loss arising out of a foster parent's lascivious acts, indecent contact, or sexual activity, as defined in chapters 702 and 709. Notwithstanding any definition to the contrary in chapters 702 and 709, for purposes of this subsection a child is a person under the age of eighteen. e. A loss or damage arising out of occurrences prior to July 1, 1988. f. Exemplary or punitive damages. g. A loss or damage arising out of conduct which is in violation of administrative rules.

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