Gov. DeSantis signs bill addressing ‘fatherhood crisis’

WLRN:

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.

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