Florida is investing $70 million into programs that support fathers, drawing praise from former Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Tony Dungy.
While Democrats seem to be prioritizing abortion rights and gender ideology, the DeSantis administration’s policies have put the focus back on the family as a fundamental building block of a strong and healthy society.
In April, Governor DeSantis announced a new bill that allocated $70 million to various programs designed to support and encourage involved fatherhood in Florida. According to a 2021 survey by the U.S. Census Bureau, 18.4 million children in America live without a biological, step, or adoptive father in the home. That’s one in four children.
“This has a severe impact on children, and often leads to dropping out of school, crime and substance abuse,” Governor DeSantis said in a statement. “Incredibly, there are those who diminish the importance of fatherhood and the nuclear family – we will not let that happen in our state. I am proud to say we are doing everything we can to support involved fatherhood in Florida.”
AT HIGHER RISK
Based on research by Florida House staff, children born without a father in the home are exposed to twice the risk of dying from infant mortality. They are two times more likely to drop out of school and fatherless boys are three times more likely to end up in jail compared to children from a home where the father is present.
According to the National Fatherhood Initiative, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting involved fatherhood, children living without their father in the home are 47 percent more likely to live in poverty. And men with absent fathers are more likely to become absent fathers themselves, thus creating a negative cycle.
“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,” DeSantis stated.
GRANTS FOR FATHERS
The bill, HB 7065, includes educational programs, mentorship programs and one-on-one support for fathers in Florida. One of the main provisions is to support mentorship programs at the Department of Juvenile Justice for at-risk youth.
“This is going to be tremendous and such a good help to fathers in Florida,” said Tony Dungy, the former head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers who was present at the signing of the bill.
Nearly half of the money earmarked for the program will go to grants aimed at assisting fathers with issues such as finding work, taking care of child support obligations and transition out of prison.
The bill received bipartisan support in both the Florida House and Senate.