Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has signed a bill into law providing $44 million to promote foster care and adoption in the Sunshine State.

The bill (SB 7034), according to a press release from the governor’s office, does several things to support foster families.

It “raises monthly payments for relative and nonrelative care givers” and “increases the monthly subsidy for child care and expands postsecondary education waivers for foster children.”

The legislation increases the monthly payment to relative and nonrelative caregivers of foster children by between $250 and $300 per month to equal the room and board rate for licensed foster homes.

“This change is important because often, placing children with relatives or family friends is the best outcome to ensure their future success. Previously, relative and nonrelative caregivers received $250-$320 less per month than licensed foster homes,” the governor’s office said.

The bill also expands tuition and fee waivers for the Florida College System to children who have been adopted out of the foster care system, or spent a significant amount of time in the system while they were a teenager.

SB 7034 passed the Florida state Senate unanimously in a 39-0 vote on February 23, with all Republican and Democrat members voting in favor of the bill. The Florida state House of Representatives also approved the bill unanimously in a 112-0 vote on March 4, with all members of both parties supporting the legislation.

On April 12, Gov. DeSantis signed the bill into law at Miami-Dade College.

“Investing in our foster parents and kids is an investment in Florida’s future,” Gov. DeSantis tweeted after signing the bill. “We are providing more than $44 million in funds to pave the way for our foster children to have successful futures.”

Carlene Lawson, a foster parent, said that she was grateful for the legislation and for how it will help children. “I am a proud parent to be in this system and I am so grateful for what I do to give back and help the system,” Lawson said.

Also speaking out in favor of the bill was Demarco Matt, a former foster care youth who said that because of the bill, more children will now be able to access tuition waivers. “When we invest in our children now, we get that reward in our society later,” Mott said.

Related articles and resources:

Florida Governor Signs Bill Providing $70 Million to Support Fatherhood

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Resources: Foster Care & Adoption

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Photo from Twitter.