Nonprofit Indiana Connected By 25 praises Governor Eric Holcomb’s signing of two measures that will have dramatic effects on Indiana foster youth. Senate Enrolled Act 366 (Driver’s Licenses for Foster Youth) and Senate Enrolled Act 497 (Medicaid for Former Foster Youth) were both signed by the Governor late Friday afternoon.
The first measure allows teenagers in foster care to obtain a driver’s license. Currently, teens in foster care can’t take driver education without court approval. They often need the signature of their legal, noncustodial parent to obtain a driver’s license. The bill also waives BMV fees, permits foster youth to take driver education, and allows them to sign for their own auto insurance.
The second bill signed by the Governor provides Medicaid coverage to age 26 for former foster youth who age out of foster care without permanent families.
“This population of young adults is often overlooked,” said Indiana Connected By 25 CEO Brent Kent. “I’m incredibly gratified that lawmakers paid attention to this often forgotten group this session. These measures will help foster youth start adulthood with some of the same advantages that young adults with traditional families experience and help them succeed and reach independence.”
The nonprofit says approximately 500 foster youth age out of the foster care system in Indiana every year without permanent families. Without health insurance and family support, foster youth often go without medical care and face higher rates of homelessness and unemployment.