Today, First Lady Casey DeSantis held a roundtable discussion to highlight how the State of Florida is working to support and empower Florida's foster and adoptive families through the Hope Florida -- A Pathway to Prosperity initiative. The Hope Florida -- A Pathway to Prosperity initiative, spearheaded by First Lady DeSantis and implemented by the Florida Department of Children and Families, utilizes "Care Navigators' to guide Floridians on an individualized path to prosperity by focusing on community collaboration between the private sector, faith-based community, nonprofits, and government entities to break down traditional community silos in an effort to maximize resources and uncover opportunities. The goal is to help individuals realize economic self-sufficiency and prosperity.
The event included major announcements that further enhance the comprehensive network of support that the state is cultivating with community partners to help those in need. Those announcements and highlights include:
1. An expansion of the Hope Florida -- A Pathway to Prosperity program to include foster and adoptive families so that they have a comprehensive one-stop-shop to call and connect with dedicated Care Navigators who can offer support and guidance for immediate and future family needs.
2. A portion of the nearly $70 million secured by Governor DeSantis in the Freedom First Budget for fatherhood initiatives will go toward mentorship opportunities for Florida's children, including foster children, through Hope Florida -- A Pathway to Prosperity.
3. $35.5 million in Governor DeSantis' budget will support nearly 59,000 Florida families with a one-time payment of $450 per child, which includes foster families.
4. Launch of the First Lady's "Hope Florida Fund" that harnesses the charity of the private sector to give funds to deserving local entities. Today, First Lady DeSantis presented two checks of $5,000 each to two Tampa non-profits: Sleep in Heavenly Peace and A Life New Warehouse.
"We are doubling down on bringing together public and private groups to collaborate and communicate with and on behalf of Floridians," said First Lady Casey DeSantis. "We are going beyond government by bringing community partners to the table to meet the needs of foster and adoptive families under the umbrella of my Hope Florida -- A Pathway to Prosperity initiative. I am on a mission to make sure that no child in Florida goes without hope, happiness, and a home. That means doing everything we can to support those who have stepped up and welcomed these children into their homes, as well as local partners that are already lending families a helping hand."
"Through the First Lady's Hope Florida -- A Pathway to Prosperity initiative and the Care Portal app, we will have the ability to connect some of the state's most vulnerable Floridians to resources offered by our state's faith and community organizations in real time," said Erik Dellenback, Governor's Liaison for Faith and Community. "Our faith and community organizations have always done incredible work on the front lines of their communities, and it is my hope that they will all take advantage of this new opportunity to provide real-time needs through Care Portal."
"Our department is always looking for ways to build strong and resilient families, and these announcements will be an immense boost to our caregivers who are preparing to send children back to school this fall," said DCF Secretary Shevaun Harris. "We are so grateful for the First Lady's work to give Floridians the tools and community connections needed to raise happy, healthy children."
To receive support from Hope Florida -- A Pathway to Prosperity, Floridians can call the Hope Line at 850-300-HOPE. Additional information can be found at HopeFlorida.com.
Prospective foster parents can call 1-83 Foster FL to connect with current or former foster parents.
Through the newly launched Hope Florida Fund, the First Lady will continue to recognize local organizations across the state that are instilling hope and meeting needs in their communities.