Foster Kids Ask Lawmakers For Help

By: Julie Montanaro,

Click to go to original article and to see video









More than 97% of children in foster care in Florida don’t have a driver’s license when they turn 18.

Most do not have access to cars and don’t have anyone with whom to practice driving.

They say it further alienates them from their peers … and makes it tough for them to get a job.

They are asking lawmakers to fund a pilot project that would give foster teens priority in taking driver’s ed courses and potentially reimburse foster parents for insurance.

“Foster care is not a choice…and I’m pretty sure only 3 percent of these kids are not choosing to not have a license…” said Daniel Pettus, former foster child.

Youth SHINE – which is made up of teens in foster care – and others who have aged out – is lobbying lawmakers this week … pushing what they call the “Keys to Independence” bill in both the house and senate.

One version of the bill passed a senate committee today. We’ll let you know what happens.

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Alexia Nechayev

FYS Events & Meeting Chair
(Palm Beach)

Hello, My name is Alexia Nechayev. I am 25 years old and I am an alumna of Florida International University where I received my B.A. in Psychology. My future career goal is to be a Lawyer. I was in care for about one year from age 17 to 18. Prior to entering care, I only knew about the negative stigma regarding foster care and while in care that narrative was unfortunately my experience.

In school I felt like I was on display because my status in care was broadcast to other students and in my placement behavior was leveraged for “privileges” that should be a natural right of all children. Because I did not know my rights I did not know that what I was experiencing was wrong. Today this is exactly why I advocate, because I don’t want this to be the same for other youth who are experiencing foster care.

This is my second year on the FYS Statewide Board and I’m happy to be the Events and Meetings Chair this year because my main goal through advocacy is to reach as many people as possible. My favorite thing as a board member is to see how comfortable members become while working together. The community needs to know that youth in foster care are real people, going through some of the hardest moments of their life and youth need to know that their voice is powerful. I believe that we have to speak up and bring these issues to people’s attention so that they do not forget us. Advocacy, education and consistency is the only way.

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