TAMPA, Florida. – A $70 million bill that prioritizes resources for Florida fathers, among other services to help children and families, was signed into law with the support of the founders of several pro-fatherhood foundations, including a Hall of Famer Tony Dungy.
HB-7065 was signed at One Buc Place in Tampa Monday morning by Gov. Ron DeSantis, who said one of the “worst social trends is the decline of fatherhood.”
“It won’t solve everything, but it will help,” he said after signing the bill. “You’re not a man letting your kids dry out. You have to be there.”
The bill largely deals with the Department for Children and Families and proposes changes that would prioritize resources for fathers and support for current and former adoptive children.
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A main part of the bill would direct the ministry to enter into a contract for the creation of the “responsible fatherhood initiative”. The ministry would contract with an entity to launch a website and distribute other materials that would educate fathers about effective parenting.
The authorship initiative would also include a print, TV and social media campaign that “could include appearances and involvement by public figures and influencers”.
CANTON, OH – AUGUST 4, 2016: 2016 Hall of Fame inductee Coach Tony Dungy waves his fist to the crowd after receiving his Gold Jacket at the Pro Football Hall of Fame Gold Jacket Dinner on August 4, 2016 at the Canton Memorial Civic Center in California
The ministry would also be required to provide grants to non-profit community organizations to meet the needs of fathers.
For example, the bill would require grants to be intended to help fathers “find employment, manage child support obligations, get out of incarceration, access health care, to understand child development and improve parenting skills.
That includes organizations such as “All Pro Dad,” created by Dungy, a former Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach who remained involved in the Bay Area community. The foundation is based in Tampa and has “a mission to help men love and lead their families well.”
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The Hall of Famer was present at the signing.
“It’s so important,” he said in support of the new law. “It’s going to allow groups like ours, people like you, to do great things for our fathers here in Florida.”
“I really appreciate the job he’s done,” Governor DeSantis said after Dungy’s speech at the press conference. “He can do a lot of other things but he has a passion for it. When you are someone who does the work of the Lord, you have to support him.”
The Florida Press Service contributed to this report