Local organization working to provide Driver’s Ed to foster children

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JOPLIN, Mo. — A child normally learns future life skills from a parent–like driving.

But foster children end up in limbo.

There aren’t many options these days when it comes to driver’s ed for teenagers.

Many school districts offered that service at one time, but not any longer.

Parents often times are pressed into service for that task.

But that’s not an option for many teens in the foster care system.

Mark Box, Safe Kids Coordinator, said, “Some of the kids are temporarily in the system, so trying to get the kids driver’s license is a process, trying to get them to, just trying to get them to the DMV to practice their driving when you’re not with somebody very long is an uphill battle for the foster kids.”

One of the few organizations that does offer defensive driving as well as driver’s ed training is the Alliance of Southwest Missouri.

But because of insurance, vehicle costs, and paying instructors, a lot of foster parents can’t afford to pay for the program for their foster kids.

“Especially when they’re just getting 16 years old one of the first questions they’re asking in a lot of jobs is can you drive, if they can’t drive to work or they’re depending upon somebody else to get a ride to work then they might get passed over for the jobs.”

Box says the organization is trying to find funding to pay for the program for the program that foster parents can’t afford.

“We’re currently working with many different case workers through job centers, through child services and we’re trying to find the contacts and grant money, anything we can find to try and get the kids into our driving program so we can get their driver’s license and these kids can get a job and have at least a shot at being successful in life.”

Box says donations to the Alliance, ear marked specifically for sponsoring driving classes, would be very much appreciated.

If you’d like to make a donation to sponsor Foster Kid’s To Go, you can call the Alliance at 417-782-9899, or drop off a check at, or mail it to their office at 1601 South Wall Avenue, Joplin, MO 64804.

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