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Bill To Allow Foster Kids To Buy Car Insurance Hits Ducey's Desk

This week, the Arizona Legislature pushed a bill to Gov. Doug Ducey’s desk that would allow children in foster care to buy car insurance.

This bill changes the current law that had barred minors from entering into contracts, effectively blocking children with no co-signing adult from the path to earning a driver’s license all together.

David Bradley is a state senator from Tucson with a background in child welfare and behavioral health services. In the past 35 years of his work, he’s run foster care and group homes for children so issues related to helping ease kids in the care of the state into adulthood have always been his focus.

A while back he did a survey with foster kids asking, what needs would you like to see attended to?

The answer: something most teens take for granted — the ability to drive. Beyond freedom, a foster kid who can drive is more employable and better able to get to school, among other things.

So why can’t foster children drive? The problem is fairly simple: if you don’t have car insurance, you can’t get your driver’s license. And if you’re a kid in foster care, it’s rare that you’ll qualify for insurance without the help of an adult.

Bradley went to the insurance companies and sat down with agencies that work in foster care and eventually he wrote a bill that allows foster children to buy car insurance in their own names.

Bradley says it is a seemingly small thing that opens up a world of freedom for kids who find themselves in a confusing and sometimes confounding system. Driving is just “but one” obstacle for them.

Bradley’s insurance law is now on Ducey’s desk to either be signed or go into law without being signed. He says he’s received no signals it will be vetoed, so he’s hoping foster kids can get behind the wheel sometime in the near future.

Mark Brodie is a co-host of The Show, KJZZ’s locally produced news magazine. Since starting at KJZZ in 2002, Brodie has been a host, reporter and producer, including several years covering the Arizona Legislature, based at the Capitol.