DeSantis Signs Fatherhood-Promoting Legislation into Law

April 11, 2022 Updated 1:51 PM ET

DeSantis speaking

April 11, 2022 Updated 1:51 P.M. ET

SAINT PETERSBURG (FCV) – Monday, Governor Ron DeSantis signed H.B. 7065, “Child Welfare,” which aims to support involved fatherhood in Florida.

The new law will included funding for education programs, mentorship programs, and one-on-one support for responsible and involved fatherhood, giving $70 million to family and youth support via the Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) and the Department of Children and Families (DCF).

The bill was introduced by Florida State Representative Thad Altman, a Republican from District 52, the Chair of the Children, Families & Seniors Subcommittee.

DeSantis, when signing the law, emphasized the importance of having a strong and present father figure.

“There are more than 18 million children in our country who live without a father in their home,” he remarked.

He said that not having a father 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.”

Florida House of Representatives Speaker Chris Sprowls said that the government “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.”

Sprows brought the issue to public attention during his 2019 designation speech.

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. To my colleagues in the Florida Legislature who worked so diligently to bring this vision to life and carry it to unanimous passage, including Reps. Altman and Alexander, Chair Burton, Senate President Simpson and the many others who stood on the steps of the Historic Capitol with us, thank you. And to Governor Ron DeSantis, a father himself, thank you for standing with us for Florida’s fathers and families today and signing this first-of-its-kind legislation for any state.

Florida House Speaker Chris Sprowls

The data that 18 million children who do not have a father in their home comes from the U.S. Census Bureau.

A handout from the Florida State Government notes that the lack of fathers in American society is leading children to drop out of school, while having a father present decreases the risk of depression and ending up in jail.

“The Father Crisis,” Florida State Government

Notable supporters of the new law touted by Republicans are former National Football League (NFL) head coach Tony Dungy, former NFL player Jack Brewer, and president and CEO of the Urban League of Centra Florida Glen Gilzean.

A main provision of the law is to create mentorship programs for “at-risk youth -” those without a father.

“A supportive and committed family can help change the trajectory of a child’s life, and DJJ looks forward to working with our partners to help even more Florida fathers become stronger parents and role models,” DJJ Secretary Eric Hall said.

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