Florida governor Ron DeSantis has signed a new bill that will provide $70 million in government funding to support initiatives to encourage fathers to be involved in their children's lives.
"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," the Republican governor said during a press conference in Tampa on Monday.
DeSantis, who held the hands of his two daughters, noted several dangers that children typically suffer from when they don't have a father in the home.
"If you look at the statistics, 90% of homeless and runaway children did not have a father in their home," he said. "Seventy percent of high school dropouts did not have a father in their home, and 60% of youth who commit suicide did not have a father in their home."
As reported by The Christian Post, the bill authorizes the launch of the Responsible Fatherhood Initiative, which "must provide an opportunity for every father in the state to be able to obtain information and inspiration that will motivate and enable him to enhance his abilities as a father, recognizing that some fathers have greater challenges than others and would benefit from greater support."
A state website and the National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse will provide fathers with electronic support resources and information about parenting.
Under the legislation, the state government will "award grants to not-for-profit community-based organizations to address the needs of fathers" by "assisting them in finding employment, managing child support obligations, transitioning from a period of incarceration, accessing healthcare, understanding child development, and enhancing parenting skills."
Meanwhile, other grants will be allocated toward mentorship programs for young male students in middle school and high school, including access to training programs for future employment.
Under the new law, June will be designated as "Responsible Fatherhood Month."
The bill, titled House Bill 7065, passed with unanimous support from the state House and Senate.
Former NFL football player Jack Brewer, who was at the press conference on Monday, noted that there was an increase in mental health issues "because we have fatherless children who are getting indoctrinated in our public schools."
"We talk about [critical race theory] and all these other things. Those are not our issues. Our issues are we are indoctrinating kids that don't have a sound household," he contended.
Brewer, who praised the bill, stressed that "this is a spiritual battle, and they cannot be fought with flesh and blood. You need a father, you need the order of God, and that is what this bill does."
"This bill is just not about someone giving you some money, it's about calling all you dads out there and you moms to coach your husbands, your boyfriends, your sons, your father." the former NFL star continued. "Hold them accountable because they need to be reaching out to some other kids."
Brewer is the founder of the Jack Brewer Foundation's American Heroes Initiative, which was also highlighted at DeSantis' press conference. The organization connects professional athletes and local leaders with fatherless youth across the nation to "bridge the cultural gaps that are escalating [due] to the absence of spirituality and positive male influence."
Other speakers at the press conference included NFL coach Tony Dungy, who leads an organization called All Pro Dads.
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Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Joe Raedle/Staff
Milton Quintanilla is a freelance writer and content creator. He is a contributing writer for Christian Headlines and the host of the For Your Soul Podcast, a podcast devoted to sound doctrine and biblical truth. He holds a Masters of Divinity from Alliance Theological Seminary.