Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and Human Services: Wednesday, February 8th, 2:00—4:00 p.m., at 401 Senate Office Building.
Senate Bill 60 – The Keys to Independence Bill will be heard in its second committee on February 8th at 2 PM. There are six anticipated committee hearings in the Legislature regarding this important legislation. The members of the committee are Senator Flores, Chair; Senator Stargel, Vice Chair; Senators Artiles, Baxley, Book, Passidomo, Powell, and Rader.
The Keys to Independence Program created this helpful video about the Program: http://centervideo.forest.usf.edu/keys/start.html
You can find out more about the Keys to Independence Program on their website at www.k2i.us
- Keys to Independence is a pilot project that helps foster children get learner permits and driver licenses.
- Keys to Independence helps youth by:
- guiding them through the application procedure,
- helping them get driver’s education and find insurance, and
- providing financial assistance to pay for the costs of licensure and insurance.
- The Keys Program is important because:
- it gives teens in foster care a more normal childhood experience
- it helps teens be more independent and productive because having a driver license makes it easier to get jobs, and participate in school and community activities, and
- teens are better equipped to live on their own.
- Over 1200 children have enrolled to date.
- The number of children in foster care with driver licenses has quadrupled.
WHAT THE BILL DOES
The bill makes the project permanent and makes improvements based on data, such as:
- Expands eligibility to include not only foster care youth, but youth in other out-of-home placements.
- Allows youth who start the program 6 months to complete it if they lose eligibility because they leave foster care or turn 18.
- Adds GALs to the list of people who can sign a youth’s learner permit application without assuming liability (if the GAL has been specifically authorized by the caregiver).
- Moves the language from Chapter 409 to Chapter 39 to make it part of the normalcy provisions for kids in the child welfare system.
NO NEW FUNDING IS NEEDED
Funding for the project is in DCF’s base budget, so no new money is needed. Staff administering the program believe they can serve all eligible children even if the bill is expanded.