Driver's Assistance

COVID-19 Updates:

In response to the Stay at Home Order from the Governor, the Treehouse office will be closed until further notice as staff continues to work remotely. Due to DOL office closures, Driver’s Assistance will be processing reimbursements only for State IDs, Learner’s Permits and Driver’s License requests. We will continue to process requests as received. Please be aware that you may experience delays in processing requests and receiving payments. We appreciate your understanding. Please feel free to contact us at  licensing@treehouseforkids.org with any questions.

Increasing Mobility for Youth in Foster Care

Our goal is to financially assist youth in foster care including in-home trial return, Extended Foster Care, Tribal Jurisdiction or Indian Child Welfare programs by eliminating barriers from obtaining a driver’s license or auto insurance coverage.

Treehouse’s Driver’s Assistance program will provide reimbursements only for all DOL services like:

  • Washington state ID
  • Instructional/learner’s permit
  • Driver’s License

We provide direct payments via credit card or mailed check to the vendor for:

  • Driver’s education ($500 maximum)
  • Testing and practice sessions
  • Missed drive/ cancellation fees
  • Auto Insurance


Are you a youth, caregiver or social worker?

I am a youth or caregiver.

Steps to Becoming a Licensed Driver

Youth ages 15-21 can follow these guidelines to achieve their driver’s license with the Department of Licensing:

1. Enroll and register with a DOL approved driving school.
2. Pre-apply online to achieve their learner’s permit.
3. Successfully complete the driver training course.
4. Complete at least 40 hours of daylight and 10 hours of night driving with someone who’s been licensed for five years or more.
5. Pass the driving test at any approved driver training and testing location.
6. Get your license!
7. Become an insured driver.

I am a social worker.

Treehouse’s Driver’s Assistance program wants to ensure achieving a driver’s license and auto insurance for youth in foster care is not out of reach. We partner with social workers to ease the process for youth and caregivers when they arrive at the Department of Licensing, DOL

The following forms are what social workers can complete and submit to the DOL for youth needing assistance.

  • DSHS 16-029 Request for Identicard reduced fee, located on the ASD forms drive.
  • DSHS 11-077 Request for Washington state Identicard, located on the CA intranet.
  • DSHS 02-636 Request for Washington state Instruction Permit or Personal Driver License, located on the CA intranet

DCYF Practices and Procedures >

Driver's Assistance FAQ

How does Driver's Assistance Work?

Youth, Caregivers, Social Workers and other support providers can submit requests for payment assistance with obtain and achieving:

  1. Washington state ID
  2. Instructional/learner’s permit
  3. Driver’s education (including testing and practice sessions)
  4. Driver’s license
  5. Auto insurance
Who is eligible for Driver's Assistance?

To be eligible for the Driver’s Assistance program, participants must meet one the following criteria at the time of service and be between the ages of 15 and 21:

  • Washington state dependent (including in-home trial return) or
  • Extended Foster Care or
  • Under Tribal Jurisdiction/Indian Child Welfare (ICW)

Participants NOT eligible for Driver’s Assistance:

  • Federal Foster Care Interstate Compact for the Placement of Children (ICPC)
  • Shelter care
  • Unaccompanied minor status
  • Refugee status
Does Driver's Assistance accept annual referrals?

No. Driver’s Assistance can only accept requests made through our online or paper application. For each service, a new request needs to be submitted even if the youth has already received previous Driver’s Assistance funding.

Once I’m approved how long will it take to receive funding from Driver’s Assistance?

Once eligibility has been received. Payment processing usually takes 1-2 weeks when there aren’t delays with the required information or documents. If funding is coming via check, it can take up to 10 days longer. Please allow a 3-week processing window when requesting payment assistance.

Once funding is approved, how do I get the money and where does the check go?

Driver’s Assistance provides funding by check made out directly to the merchant providing the service or reimbursements to youth and caregivers. Checks will be mailed to the listed party on the request form. Our other payment methods are online or by phone with a VISA credit card made directly to the vendor.

Does Driver’s Assistance provide reimbursement funding?

Yes, provided that there is sufficient documentation to support the request and proof of payment is submitted.  Reimbursements will only be honored for one month prior to the request. Please allow a 3-week processing time when requesting reimbursement.

What does a youth need to start driver’s ed?
  1. A Washington state ID.
  2. Learner’s permit: The process begins with enrolling in a driver’s ed course, pre-applying on the Department of Licensing website and can only be issued and obtained 10 days prior to the start of driver’s education courses.
Are there any requirements for the youth to have their own auto insurance policy?
  1. The youth must have a Washington state driver’s license.
  2. The youth must be at least 18 years old.
  3. The youth must own the vehicle that they are wanting their own policy for.
  4. The youth must have their own unique email address to digitally sign documents required by the Driver’s Assistance program.

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