As state leaders take on what they are calling a “fatherhood crisis” in Florida, Gov. Ron DeSantis on Monday signed a bill that will provide about $70 million to bolster programs aimed at equipping dads with parenting resources and helping foster youth.
The measure (HB 7065) received bipartisan support during the 2022 legislative session, passing unanimously in the House and Senate.
Under the bill, the state Department of Children and Families will be directed to contract for the creation of the “Responsible Fatherhood Initiative.” The initiative will be geared toward providing information on effective parenting and will include a media campaign that “may include appearances by and involvement from public figures and influencers.”
A significant portion of the money earmarked for the program, about $32.6 million, will go toward funding grants aimed at assisting fathers. The grants will be targeted at issues such as helping fathers find employment, manage child support obligations and transition from a period of incarceration. The measure also accompanies funding in the state budget for grants that “provide evidence-based parenting education specifically for fathers.”
The law also increases a stipend, from $1,256 to $1,720, for young adults who previously were in the foster care system and are attending postsecondary schools.
DeSantis said the measure will have “huge ramifications” for helping young Floridians reach their potential.
“If you look over the last many decades, one of the worst social trends has been the decline of fatherhood. And we do have, in many instances, a fatherhood crisis in this country. The fact of the matter is when you take kids who do not have a father present during their upbringing, the chance of them dropping out of school, getting involved in trouble with the law, having other difficulties, increases dramatically,” DeSantis, the father of three young children, said during a press conference in Tampa on Monday.
The measure also aims to boost collaboration between the state Department of Children and Families and Department of Juvenile Justice to better serve children who are “dually involved” with both systems, meaning they receive services from both agencies.
Republican lawmakers and House Speaker Chris Sprowls, who made the measure a top priority during the session, flanked DeSantis at Monday’s event, which took place at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ practice facility.
“If you look at every social study there is on this topic, whether it is suicide rates or depression or dropping out of school, everything you can think of, mass incarceration — one of the greatest common factors that unites those people is an absent father in their life,” Sprowls, R-Palm Harbor, said.
Tony Dungy, a Tampa sports icon who is a former head coach of the Buccaneers and an inductee into the NFL Hall of Fame, also joined the governor to endorse the new law.
Dungy works with the nonprofit group All Pro Dad, which provides parenting information and hosts events. Dungy said the measure signed by DeSantis will be “such a big help” to fathers in Florida and the agencies that help them.
In the record $112.1 billion budget (HB 5001) for the fiscal year that begins July 1, All Pro Dad would receive $1.2 million for literacy and family engagement programs and another $1.92 million to promote adoption and foster care. DeSantis has not received the budget from lawmakers yet.
The literacy program got $1.2 million for the current fiscal year that ends June 30, and the adoption effort received $650,000. Two years ago, the totals were $700,000 for the literacy efforts and $650,000 to promote adoption services.
After highlighting funding and the various programs the bill he signed Monday aims to benefit, DeSantis said the onus is on fathers to be present in their children’s lives.
“We’re putting our money where our mouth is. We’re here showing the importance of this. But you’ve got to be willing to do the right thing and be present in your child’s life. You’re not a man by leaving your kids hung out to dry. You need to be there,” DeSantis said.
–Ryan Dailey, Jim Turner, News Service of Florida
Human behavior says
Stop welfare benefits and tax credits based on the amount of children you have. That will stop the trafficking of having babies for money. Once in the system, always in the system. Do the analysis. Keep giving money and handouts, nothing will change. Any human being who wants an opportunity in this country can have it. There are many organizations already out there offering assistance.
Drugs,guns and sex pay more for anyone who knows only these options as a career.
Unless they want to be trained and get get a decent paying job, they won’t. They make more money off the govt and on the streets.
And then you think, they are gonna work and pay child support? Crazy! How about prevention measures? Going forward, education for young men. Tried that too. Get rid of long term welfare. It was not intended to be. The government pays, I pay for a lot of families. And they learn nothing, except how to get the next free thing. Someone look at the stats and demographics. Giving more handouts to a dead beat dad, will not do anything. Patterns and habits take time to develop and just about the same time it took to develop is the same amount of time to change it. Get it?
Father of 3 says
You do know that not all of them are deadbeat dads. A lot of the Fathers don’t get to see their kids because of Dead Beat Courts that won’t stand behind the court ordered visitation, won’t punish mothers for parental alienation and will let mothers get away with slander, libil, vandalism and domestic violence. I’ve been to jail for hugging my daughter and telling her I’d see her soon and love her. You can pretend all you like that father’s are at fault but let’s be honest with everyone, the current state of the judicial system is just as crooked as the rest of our government.
Human behavior says
You, Sir, are the exception. And I agree with your statements. As long as your children know you love them, as you do, they will do well. I wish you luck and support your fight to do what is best for your children .
The Unvarnished Truth says
…in the meantime, females are giving zero thought as to WHO or WHAT they have a baby they can’t afford, and the guy who only wanted to “put a notch in his belt” doesn’t want. To some (most) of them, the children are “livestock” bred for entitlements. I’ve seen guys spout this “the system is against me” trope and they don’t do anything in the way of fighting for their kids (or themselves). The days of “the mother has all the rights” only apply to the guy that isn’t as invested as he says he is
Somehow I don’t see too many negligent fathers going to parenting classes. If they really cared about their kids and wanted to be an involved father, they would make the attempt on their own.
There are plenty of ways for men to find jobs without paid assistance. They’ve been doing it for hundreds of years. Now there are places to go to find places to seek jobs for free.
I totally agree with what Human Behavior said in his or her post here
You can’t pay a father to be a decent parent, he has to WANT to give love and care and guidance to his kids and do the very best he can. A lot of these men drink to much, take drugs, have bad tempers or just plain selfish. Throwing money at them to “fix things” will not work. the person has to do it on his own.
This applies to mothers also, as their are “bad mothers” out there as well.
This is a political move by DeSantis to get votes and, if the bill passes, I doubt all the money would go for what he claims he wanted it for just like he has withheld in other things.
lolo OKOLE says
Totally AGREE!!! Their nothing be PIMPS that run our Country…Donations, Donations, Donations to get the Votes needed to stay in Control of us HONEST HARD WORKING PEOPLE!!!!! Thanks for your Input…
Been There says
1. Maybe this should be a about a “Parenthood” crisis.
2. He is willing to force women to have children they aren’t prepared to raise knowing that there is already a “fatherhood crisis”? Does he understand the two issues aren’t mutually exclusive? Let’s make those babies and have even MORE absentee fathers. Gov. D…that’s just stupid.
@Been There. . . my thoughts exactly.
The “Pro Fetus” De Santis and supporters are all for “forcing” women (and men) to have babies they can’t afford, and are not prepared to raise. Next comes the need for social services to support those children. . . but, then read some of the comments here. The same hypocrites who are against “free” birth control and abortion are dead set against the social programs to support those babies =”Pro Fetus”. . . NOT “Pro life”!
Steven Sciacca says
I’ve been trying for 3 years to see or even speak to my son who is now about to be 8 years old on July 30th last time I’ve seen Him was father’s day June 16 2019 his mother won’t let him have anything to do with me or my entire family for that matter I’ve been fighting for my rights since plus with the pandemic not all men are trash and or dead beats all I want is a relationship with my son I’m even 20k in fighting for him his mother stopped all contact moved against a court order and falsely filed charges against me of aggravated stalking when I called her to ask for her address to have her served with the family courts paperwork I had to hire a p.i for it….went to trail for the stalking and won …
And now I’ll tell you what the real problem is ……..is the fact that us unwed fathers has no rights to our children untill paternity is established through the courts signing the birth certificate only makes you the Financial father not the legal father mean while the woman has all rights and can legally stop a unwed father who has not yet been to the courts to have a court order…….
. parental alienation is real and it is also a form of abuse and it has long lasting effects on our children
What we need is a law stopping this overwhelming problem that is rising there are so many good man Father’s that’s out here fighting this war with no help let me repeat NO HELP of any sort because of the mind set of people in some of these comments like we should fight harder and stuff like that why should we have to fight at all if I want to pick my son up and go to a ball game or any thing then I should be just as able as if the mother was to do so …..
So I’ll say by this time it’s now May of 2022 we are not in the 80 90 or even the early 2000s anymore you have more Father’s stepping up then you do mother’s so I’ll say the percentage of fatherless kids is greater to the factor of parental alienation of mothers keeping the kids from the Father’s ….
it’s real my family and myself are suffering from it…..