Florida’s controversial governor and father of three Ron DeSantis has weighed into the fatherlessness crisis by signing a fatherhood initiative into law.

Dubbed the Fatherless Initiative, the core of DeSantis’ HB (House Bill) 7065 is about helping at-risk youth, through ‘mentor programs, education’, as well as ‘one-on-one support to encourage responsible and involved fatherhood in Florida.’

The ex-JAG Republican Governor signed groundbreaking kids’ legislation in April.

One of the bill’s principal aims is to ‘equip fathers with resources for them to stay engaged in their children’s lives.’

The 33-page father-child welfare bill (PDF) officially designated June as “Responsible Fatherhood Month.

HB 7065 also opens the door for grants to pro-dads for kids’ non-profits and seeks to improve the quality of care where the state is involved in the care of the child.

This coexists alongside the legislation’s built-in provisions to assist existing NGO organisations which guide fathers on the path towards ‘participating in the life of their children.’

The Root of Societal Ills

At the signing of the legislation, while being flanked by two of his daughters, and various Floridian fatherhood foundations, DeSantis told those gathered,

“One of the worst social trends has been the decline of fatherhood, and we do have in many instances a fatherhood crisis in the United States.”

When fathers are absent from the home during a kid’s upbringing, DeSantis recounted, the chances of them dropping out of school, becoming a criminal, and having other problems, “increases dramatically.”

Fox News coverage of the event was shared by the De Santis team on Twitter, where Fox cited Department of Justice statistics backing DeSantis’ claims:

“Fatherless homes in the United States account for:

  • 90% of homeless and runaway youths
  • 70% of juveniles in state institutions.
  • 71% of high school dropouts.
  • 63% of youth suicides.”

As Dads4Kids noted last week, 26 out of 27 worst US mass shootings have links back to dads being absent from the lives of their children.

Support the Supporters

Speaking with Alec Lace, author and founder of First-class Fatherhood, DeSantis explained that the $70-million-dollar HB 7065 is designed to,

“Lift up those groups who are really getting in communities and doing well. Then we also want our state agencies like the department of juvenile justice department of children, and families to have more resources; to [help] get fathers back into the home as one of their primary missions.”

Lace agreed, describing fatherlessness as a crisis, asserting:

“In my opinion [fatherlessness] is the number one social issue we have uh we’re trying to solve all these other issues but if we don’t strengthen our nuclear family units bring the father back into the home and maybe our heavenly father back into society.”

When Lace asked DeSantis what he thought about the pandemic of problems and pain caused by absentee dads, DeSantis answered,

“I think a lot of the problems that we see in society are outgrowths of the fatherlessness crisis and if you had every kid in America had a loving father in the home, we would have far, far fewer problems.”

Role Model

Aside from the upward climb of his political career, DeSantis expressed to Lace that the kind of legacy he hoped to leave as a father was to,

“Just be somebody that my kids can look up to. I try to set a good example for them. Part of the challenges we’ve had as parents is that my kids are growing up in an environment much different than how I grew up — a blue-collar kid.”

DeSantis continued,

“[My wife and I] really want to instil in our kids a sense of being grounded; a sense of understanding that you’re going to have to work hard to succeed in life. We’re not going to just hand you anything. You’re going to have to go out there, and earn it.”

Asked to give some new dad advice, the potential 2024 Republican Presidential candidate gave a personal anecdote about his own experience with being away from home, asserting,

“I would just say, be present. Spend as much time with your kids as possible.”

DeSantis then spoke about how, even with the demands of office, he “tries to get back home for dinner; or try to get back home to put the kids to bed, and get them up of a morning.”

He added,

“Then of course [I try] to do as many activities with them as possible. I’m able to involve them in some of the stuff I do as governor, bringing them to press conferences, and go out for ice cream. We make an effort to involve them.”

Concluding with a final dad-life pointer, DeSantis encouraged fathers to simply be there for their kids, stating,

“You have such a great opportunity to make a meaningful difference in your kids lives just by being interested, and just by being present; setting a good example.”

To be a world-class dad is to be a dad who is all-in, present and participating when, where, and in whatever way he can.

Florida’s new legislation is a high-profile example of pro-dad pragmatism in politics.

HB 7065 doesn’t shy away from helping men be the best dads they can be.

DeSantis’ pro-family legislation will help native Floridian initiatives achieve the kind of success of that dad groups such as Dads on Duty in Louisiana and Mr. Dads Fathers Club in Chicago.

The bill has all the signs of being a world first, whereby government chooses to ignore political correctness, instead of ignoring men.

This is a tangible effort to engage in the efforts of those who see and who seek to end the pandemic of pain and problems caused by the absence of dads in the home.


Photo: Florida Governor’s Office

About the Author: Rod Lampard

Rod, his wife Jonda, and their five kids are homeschooling veterans. Rod spent 12 years in management at Koorong, has a Bachelor’s Degree in Ministry & Theology, and is a writer for the theological, politically edgy news site Caldron Pool. Rod also writes for the Spectator. Find his personal blog here.

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