Q How do I get to and from after-school activities if my foster parents won’t or can’t take me?
Your social worker can help you find a way to go to and from, your after school activities if your foster parents can't. If your social worker is not able to help you, talk to your lawyer. Can you read a bus, subway or train schedule? In some places, public transportation is often cheaper and more convenient than a car.
Q If I am in DCF custody, am I allowed to get my learner's permit and a driver’s license?
Yes! Youth in foster care are able to get their permits and licenses. Here, we’ll walk you through it:
Step 1: Go to your local RMV office and fill out the application. You’ll have to bring the following things:
If Under age 18:
- An official document (birth certificate, passport, etc.) proving your date of birth;
- Parental (or social worker) consent on the application
- A Social Security Number issued to you, or a “Denial Notice” from the Social Security Administration (SSA);
Caution: All documents must be originals; the RMV won’t accept photocopies
If Over age 18:
- Official document proving date of birth
- Document proving your signature
- Document proving Massachusetts residency (This can be a piece of mail, even junk mail, addressed to you in Massachusetts.)
- A Social Security Number, or “Denial Notice” from SSA
Step 2: Bring the application, the documents listed above, and a $30 fee to the RMV. You will then take the Learner’s Permit test. The test consists of 25 questions, and you must get at least 18 questions right to pass. Applicants should study the RMV Permit booklet before taking the test. The study guide is available in English and Spanish.
Tip: If you have a disability, contact the RMV. They will make special accommodations for you.
Step 3: Once you pass the test, you can drive!! - With some limits. Ask the RMV or visit their website for details. Some of the rules include:
- You can drive only with a “sponsor,” someone who is at least 21 years old, has at least one year of driving experience, and has a license of his/her own.
- Also, if you are under 18 years old, you cannot drive between the hours of 12:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m. unless you’re with a parent or guardian who has a license and has been driving for at least one year.
Tip: The RMV telephone number in Massachusetts is (617) 351-4500.
Q Who decides if I can get a learner’s permit and license while I am in foster care?
Usually your DCF social worker has the right to make the decision and sign the application. On the other hand, you can talk to your foster parents about it.
Tip: If you are in DCF custody because of a ''Voluntary Placement Agreement'' or a CRA case, your parents or legal guardian would make the decision.
Q Who should I talk to about getting my permit and license?
Your social worker is the best person to talk to about getting your permit and license. She or he would let you know if you can and how to get it. You can also talk to your lawyer about it. If you are in DCF custody because of a Voluntary Placement Agreement or a CRA case, your parents or guardian will decide.
Q Who pays for the learner's permit, tests and lessons?
DCF should be able to pay for some of the lessons and tests. You can earn money for driving school through working on the PAYA Modules through DCF. Ask your DCF Adolescent Outreach Worker at the DCF office near you and/or your lawyer about getting money to pay for your learner's permit, driving school and your license. Also talk to them about whose car to use to practice and take your driving test. For more information about earning money by participation in PAYA, talk to your Intensive Foster Care Worker, your social worker or any Adolescent Outreach Worker.
Q Whose car would I use to practice my driving?
Your foster parent may be able to allow you to use his/her car to practice driving, but if you can’t, DCF may be able to assist you with driver education road lessons.