DFCS Online Policies & Procedures

  DFCS Online Policies & Procedures

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Handbook 20: Special Information
20-6  Driver's Licenses for Foster Youth
Special Information
20-6   Driver's Licenses for Foster Youth
Reference Points
Overview
General Information about the Driver's License Application
Who Can Sign for a Driver's License Application
Parent's or Guardian's Signature - Accepting Liability for a Minor
Financial Responsibility Requirement
Revoking the Driver's License
Dependent Youth Over 18
Procedures for Signing for the Application
DMV Website Links
Other References


Reference Points
Effective Date: TBA
Last Updated: 9/14/07
 Legal Basis:
Popup Window Vehicle Code 16430 - (proof of financial liability)
Popup Window Vehicle Code 17701 - (civil liability of persons signing license applications of minors)
Popup Window Vehicle Code 17707 - (minor's negligence)


Overview   These guidelines were researched and developed by a subcommittee of the Bay Area Regional Child Welfare Director's Association (CWDA)and approved by the CWDA.  The purpose of these guidelines is to clarify the law and promote consistency in practice in the region. (Bay Area Regional Guidelines for Driver's Licenses for Foster Youth)
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General Information about the Driver's License Application   The application for anyone under the age of 18 establishes a process for the youth to learn to drive. Only the initial application is signed by the authorized person. The youth is first issued an instruction permit which allows the youth to take driver education in the classroom or driver training which is behind the wheel.
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Who Can Sign for a Driver's License Application  

Social Worker
A social worker may sign a foster youth’s driver’s license application if:

  • The social worker notified the foster caregiver.
  • The youth provides proof of financial responsibility.

There is no civil liability when a child welfare worker signs.

Vehicle Code 17707 states that:

No liability may be imposed under this section or under Section 17708 on the state or county, or on a probation officer or child protective services worker acting as an officer of the court for damages caused solely by the negligence or willful misconduct of a minor driver whose application for a driver's license was signed by the child protective services worker or probation officer while the minor was a dependent or ward of the Court.

 

 

Persons Other Than the Social Worker
The following persons may sign a foster youth’s driver’s license application.


• Parent
• Guardian
• Grandparent
• Sibling over 18
• Aunt
• Uncle
• Foster parent with whom the youth resides (excluding group homes)

Civil liability is imposed on any of the above person who signs.

Vehicle Code 17701 specifically discusses the requirements for a foster youth to obtain a driver's license:

If the minor is a dependent or ward of the court, the application may be signed by a grandparent, sibling over the age of 18 years, aunt, uncle, or foster parent with whom the minor resides.  The probation officer or child protective services worker acting as an officer of the court, on behalf of a child, may also sign and verify the application of a minor who is a dependent or ward of the court.  if the minor files proof of financial responsibility as provided in Article 1 (commencing with Section 16430) of Chapter 3 of Division 7 at the time of application.  Prior to signing the application, the probation officer or child protective services worker shall notify the foster parents or other responsible party of his or her intent to sign and verify the application.

 

When a foster caregiver refuses to sign an application for the youth, and the youth requests the social worker to sign, the matter should first be resolved between the social worker and the foster caregiver.

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Parent's or Guardian's Signature - Accepting Liability for a Minor  

A minor’s application for a driver license must have the signatures of:

  • Both parents, if the parents are California residents and have joint custody, or
  • Both parents, if divorced, with joint custody, or
  • One parent, if that parent has custody, or
  • Guardians of the minor, if neither parent is living or has custody, or
  • The person(s) having actual full and complete custody, if no legal guardian is appointed.

NOTE: Nonresident parents cannot sign the application form and cannot accept liability for a minor in California. Nonresident military parents stationed and living in California
can sign the application form and accept liability for a minor.
When parents or guardians sign for a minor to get a driver license, they are stating that they will accept financial responsibility for that minor.

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Financial Responsibility Requirement  

Financial responsibility in California requires that drivers and vehicle owners carry the following minimum monetary limits:


$15,000 for injury or death of 1 person per accident
$30,000 for injury or death of 2 or more persons per accident
$5,000 for any property damage per accident


Evidence of financial responsibility must be carried at all times in the vehicle. Most Californians maintain financial responsibility through insurance companies, which provide the policy holder with an identification card to be used as evidence of coverage.  The card must state the insurance company's name and address, the period of coverage, and policy number.
An insurance carrier might not issue insurance to someone under 18. Minors are normally added to parents' insurance.
Financial responsibility for a foster youth would probably mean a foster parent would have to be willing to put the youth under their insurance or maybe a group home could put a youth under their insurance.

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Revoking the Driver's License   The person who signed the driver’s license application for a person under the age of 18 may revoke the permit at any time up the time of issuance.
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Dependent Youth Over 18   The Presiding Judge should determine whether a person other than the dependent should sign the application.
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Procedures for Signing for the Application  

When a social worker signs the application:

  • Inform the foster youth that the caregiver must be notified.
  • Notify the youth’s caregiver/parents in advance and determine if they are in agreement.
  • Obtain proof of financial liability from the youth If parent, guardian, adult sibling or other authorized person is signing:
    That adult accepts civil liability for the youth and is jointly and severally liable with the minor for any damage resulting from the negligent or wrongful act or omission of the minor in driving a motor vehicle.  That adult may submit to DMV a request to cancel the license at any time before the child reaches majority.


When a foster parent signs the application:

  • The foster parent may sign the application based on his or her own judgment using the prudent parent standard as defined. W&I 362.4 defines this as the standard characterized by careful and sensible parental decisions that maintain the child’s health, safety and best interest. Consideration of the appropriateness of the particular youth
    driving a car should also be part of the decision making by the caregiver as described in W&I 362.5 which speaks to the child’s age, maturity and developmental level.  If the youth leaves the home before age 18, the caregiver should submit a form to the DMV to terminate financial and civil responsibility.  The caregiver may submit to DMV a request to cancel the license at any time before the
    child reaches majority.
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DMV Website Links  

 

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Other References  
Popup Window2 Bay Area Regional Guidelines for Driver's Licenses for Foster Youth
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