Driver's Assistance

Important Program Update

After pausing auto insurance funding from March through the end of June, Treehouse Driver’s Assistance will accept new auto insurance requests starting July 1. Funding guidelines have been implemented to keep up with the increased costs of car insurance and the demand for services. Up until now, Treehouse has paid 100% of the cost of auto insurance for eligible young people. Beginning July 1st, we are implementing a new step-down payment model for all car insurance requests. See here for more details.

Increasing Independence for Youth in Foster Care

Youth experiencing foster care face many barriers to driving legally and safely. Our goal is to remove these barriers by alleviating the financial burden on youth and caregivers.

Treehouse Driver’s Assistance provides payment for:

  • Washington state ID*
  • Learner’s permit*
  • Driver’s license*
  • Driver’s education including missed drives and other fees
  • Testing and practice sessions
  • Roadside assistance and towing*
  • Motor vehicle registration and tabs*
  • Basic car repairs and maintenance*
  • Gas assistance while learning to drive
  • Auto insurance coverage

*Treehouse provides payment for these services by reimbursement only.

Please note: Reimbursements will require a receipt and are not guaranteed until the request has been approved. Please contact us if you have any questions.

Program Eligibility

Driver's Assistance Roadmap

Not sure where to start when filling out forms? Learn more by watching the video below.

Note: We have simplified the number of request forms from 6 to 4. All other information remains correct.

Driver's Assistance FAQs

What are all the services Driver’s Assistance can pay for?

We can  provide reimbursements for youth state IDs, learner permits and driver’s licenses. Once licensed, Driver’s Assistance can provide limited auto insurance funding. We can also reimburse for towing fees, vehicle registration, and basic car repairs and maintenance. We make payments directly to vendors as well as provide reimbursements for drivers ed, missed drive fees, practice sessions and testing. We also offer roadside assistance through AAA Washington and gas assistance during the licensing process.

See here for more details about funding guidelines.

What are the steps to becoming a licensed driver in Washington State?

Youth ages 15-18* should 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 with the DOL to get a learner’s permit.
3. Successfully complete the driver training course.
4. Practice driving at least 40 hours during the day and 10 hours at night 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.

*Participants 18 and over can obtain their license without taking driver training course or getting a learner permit by passing the knowledge and drive skills test.

What can I do as a DCYF or tribal social worker to help youth obtain their license?

The following forms are what social workers need to complete and submit to the DOL for drivers under 18 on their caseload.

  • DCYF 16-029 Request for Identicard Reduced Fee
  • DCYF 11-077 Request for Washington State Identicard
  • DCYF 02-636 Request for Washington State Instruction Permit or Personal Driver License

DCYF Practices and Procedures >

Is there a maximum amount that Driver’s Assistance provides for driver’s ed?

Driver’s education course prices vary across the state. Please choose the course that is the best fit for the driver. Requests over $700 will require further documentation showing an explanation of the need for services beyond standard courses.

We will pay for additional driving lessons, missed class fees, late fees, and course re-takes as needed. We pay for knowledge and drive skills testing and can pay for multiple test re-takes. Please email [email protected] if you need help finding a driving school in your area.

If I haven’t done well in my courses or on my tests, will Driver’s Assistance pay for a re-take? How much time will I have to finish?

Yes, Driver’s Assistance will pay for driving course and test re-takes. Please submit an additional request on our website if another payment to the driving school is required.

There is not necessarily a time frame for youth obtaining their driver’s license for the first time. The driving school will outline course expectations once enrollment is complete. Be sure to check-in with them regularly to keep up with make-ups and practice session appointments. For as long as your permit is valid you can continue to work on achieving your license. A learner’s permit will be valid for up to 1 year.

Once my request is approved how long will it take to receive funding from Driver’s Assistance?

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 may take up to 10 days longer. Please submit your request at least 3 weeks before payment is needed.

How are payments and reimbursements made?

Driver’s Assistance provides funding either by check made out directly to the merchant providing the service or by credit card payment. Checks can be mailed to the merchant or the youth and care team.

Reimbursements are issued by PayPal or check only. All reimbursements will require a receipt showing date, amount and name of vendor. Reimbursements must be requested within 60 days of payment. 

See here for the full reimbursement policy.

Can Driver’s Assistance provide reimbursement funding without a receipt?

No. Unfortunately, we are unable to provide any reimbursements without documentation. Youth and care teams must submit a receipt, bank statement, or picture showing proof of payment made for the service being requested. Documentation should include both the youth and business name, date, and total amount paid.

What are the requirements to receive auto insurance funding through Driver’s Assistance?

Youth drivers need a valid Washington state driver’s license and reside in the same home as the vehicle owner. Youth under 18 cannot be on their own (individual) policy and must be added to another insurance policy (shared). 

Youth must have their own email address to communicate and the insurance policy owner and youth must sign our program agreements. We will also request specific policy documentation and details regarding insurance coverage.

As of July 1, 2024, we will be implementing a new step-down payment model for all car insurance requests meaning youth and caregivers will be financially responsible for a portion of the insurance policy.

See here for more details.

Does Driver's Assistance accept annual referrals?

Unlike other Treehouse programs, Driver’s Assistance does not require annual referrals. Driver’s Assistance can only accept requests made through our online application. For each service, a new request will need to be submitted. Before we can make a payment, we must verify the youth’s program eligibility with the Department of Children, Youth and Families (DCYF) or the tribal social worker.

How else can Treehouse help me if I do not qualify for Driver’s Assistance?

For youth enrolled in other Treehouse programs, like Graduation Success and Launch Success, you may qualify for payment assistance with our Just-in-Time Funding program. Be sure to ask your Treehouse specialist or coach for more assistance. If you have not participated in a Treehouse program before, we may be able to help you find another payment resource. Send an email to [email protected] to see if we have information on other financial resources in your area.

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