April 13, 2022 Updated 8:28 A.M. ET
MIAMI (FCV) – Governor Ron DeSantis signed Senate Bill 7034 alongside foster families and legislators. The bill will help further financially support foster families.
Beyond raising monthly payments for relative and non relative foster parents, the new law will also expand waivers in postsecondary education. Since 2019, Florida has added more than 4,000 foster families.
“My administration is committed to supporting our most vulnerable children and Florida has already added 4,000 more licensed foster parents than we had in 2019,” said DeSantis.
“Not only does this bill allow us to expand our support for foster parents, but it also creates more opportunities for foster children. Including our work on early literacy and fatherhood, Florida is a national leader in setting young children up for success.”
“Improving the level of benefits for family members and foster parents could mean all the difference when these folks are considering whether they can take in a vulnerable child,” said Senate President Wilton Simpson.
“The earlier in life we can give children a safe, permanent home, the better opportunities those children will have for the rest of their lives. Government is a horrible parent, but we can, and we will continue to make foster children a priority by identifying and supporting caring families for them. Governor DeSantis, our First Lady and Speaker Sprowls are amazing leaders in this effort, and I am grateful for their support of pro-life policy reforms within our child welfare system.”
Signed at Miami-Dade College, the bill will provide support for those who were once foster children themselves along with giving them life coaches.
The bill amends section 39.5085, Florida Statutes, by providing an increase in the monthly payment. Before this bill, relative and nonrelative caregivers received $250-$320 less per month.
Additionally, the bill creates a $200 per month child-care subsidy for any foster parent and relative or nonrelative who has a child between the age of birth to school entry placed in their home. This program will ensure every foster child has access to early learning programs and will help foster parents afford to enroll these children in child care.
The bill also amends section 1009.25, Florida Statutes, to reevaluate and expand the number students who are eligible for the tuition and fee waivers for those who have interacted with the dependency system.
Previously, exemptions were limited to only children who were in foster care as they turned 18. Tuition and fee waivers will be available for children who have been adopted or have spent a majority of their time in the foster care system.
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