(The Center Square) – Gov. Ron DeSantis on Monday signed bipartisan legislation that will provide $70 million in funding to support fathers in the state through mentorship and other educational programs.
HB 7065 passed unanimously in the state House and the Senate.
“There are more than 18 million children in our country who live without a father in their home,” DeSantis said. “This has a severe impact on children, and often leads to dropping out of school, crime and substance abuse. 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.”
The funding will go toward educational programs, mentorship programs and one-on-one support to encourage responsible and involved fatherhood in Florida.
“We cannot legislate fatherhood, accountability or character, but we can provide supports for fathers to equip and encourage them to take an active role in the lives of their children,” House Speaker Chris Sprowls said. “By addressing the root cause of so many of the challenges facing our sons and daughters, we will see the positive impact of this legislation send shockwaves for generations to come.”
One in four children in the U.S. do not have a father in their home, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
Former NFL head coach Tony Dungy, former NFL professional football player and philanthropist Jack Brewer, and Glen Gilzean, president and CEO of the Urban League of Central Florida joined DeSantis at Monday’s signing.
“This is going to be tremendous and such a good help to fathers in Florida,” Dungy, former head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers., said. “This bill is so important. I want to thank all of the men and women that have been behind this. It is going to allow groups like All Pro Dad and people like those here today to do great things for our fathers here in Florida.”