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'Responsible Fathers' bill gets governor's signature

Responsible fathers bill
Posted at 10:13 PM, Apr 11, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-12 05:55:47-04

TAMPA, Fla — House Bill 7065 is now law in the state of Florida. At a press conference Monday, Governor Ron DeSantis said its goal is to promote "responsible fatherhood."

"You have responsibilities for your kids and you need to be present and you need to be offering a supportive role," he said.

The law mainly focuses on families who have kids connected to the state Department of Children and Families (DCF) and the state Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ).

It will require at least one, or both, of those agencies to give grants of up to $250,000 to local nonprofits that either provide mentorship to young men or provide resources to help men become better fathers and get higher-paying jobs.

"This legislation is going to help empower fathers and build support around them to strengthen their work and create opportunities for a credential and a career that helps move them into higher wage career opportunities," said DJJ secretary Eric Hall.

It will also require the department of health to provide "fatherhood engagement activities" in connection to its prenatal and infant care services.

"It will help our fathers become more self-sufficient, active in their family's lives while increasing support for our youth in the justice system at the same time," said Central Florida Urban League President, Glen Gilzean.

In the end, though much of the new law focuses on strengthening the bond between fathers and their families, the governor also encouraged people in the community to mentor those whose fathers can't be present for one reason or another.

"If you can be someone who can be a mentor or somebody that can be of assistance to somebody that doesn't have that father in the home, doing that is going to have huge, huge benefits," said Governor DeSantis.

This new law also includes updated guidance aimed at helping children transition out of DCF services.

It goes into effect on July 1.