‘They’re real’: Florida to provide almost 60K families with $450 per child from Hope Florida program

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Florida will be giving almost 60,000 families one-time payments of $450 per child, to help pay for food, school supplies, clothing and other necessities as a way for the state to help “offest the costs of rising inflation.”

Christina Pushaw, the Press Secretary for Gov. Ron DeSantis, tweeted a photo of the letters that will come with the one-time payments, confirming “these letters are real.” In a later tweet, responding to someone asking how the checks would help with inflation, Pushaw wrote “the federal government causes inflation by deficit spending. Stimulus checks were part of that. By contrast, the budget surplus in Florida is at the state level and it’s already money in existence, we do not print money here. So- no, it doesn’t cause inflation.”

It was not immediately clear who would qualify to receive the payments. Materials published by the state government said 59,000 families would be receiving the checks. First Lady Casey DeSantis’ held a roundtable on July 15 in Tampa to discuss state efforts to support foster and adoptive families in the state, where the funding effort was announced.

WFLA.com has requested information from the Department of Children and Families about how eligibility and recipients were chosen.

At the roundtable, DeSantis said the one-time $450 per child payments could be used for food, school supplies, or “whatever they need to make their kids successful.” The First Lady said foster parents, adoptive parents, and single mothers were all eligible for the funds.

The $450 payments are part of Hope Florida, which is administered by DCF. The Hope Florida program “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,” according to the governor’s office. It’s main goal is to “help individuals realize economic self-sufficiency and prosperity.”

The programs announced on Friday will provide funding for services, as well as give 59,000 Florida families a one-time payments of $450 per child. Unlike other one-time payments Americans received from the federal government due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Florida did not refer to its one-time payments for families as stimulus checks. Totaled together, the state has allocated $35.5 million for the payments.

Check recipients are also receiving a letter from Governor Ron DeSantis that says:

Dear Floridian,
As the father of three young children, I know that getting ready for a new school year can be both exciting and stressful. To offset the costs of rising inflation, especially with a new school year approaching, the State of Florida is giving you $450 for each child in your care.

This one-time payment can be used for anything from buying diapers to fueling up at the pump. I also want to make sure you are aware of our state’s “Back-to-School” sales-tax holiday, which will take place from July 25 through August 7, to help you get the supplies you need to prepare for the upcoming school year. Supplies that will be tax-free during this time include clothing, bags, computers, shoes and other school supplies.

Please accept this payment as a form of gratitude and acknowledgment for all that you do to help nurture Florida’s future. God bless you, and God bless the great state of Florida.

Ron DeSantis

The funding announced was described as an expansion of Hope Florida’s Pathway to Prosperity initiative. At the roundtable event in Tampa, a total of $105.5 million for two programs, as well as additional resources for foster and adoptive families to find support and guidance. Two Tampa non-profits, Sleep in Heavenly Peace and A Life New Warehouse, also received checks for $5,000.

(Courtesy: Florida Governor’s Office)

The announcements at the roundtable were described by a release from the governor’s office as:

  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,” DeSantis said Friday. “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.”

Families can request support from the program by calling the Hope Line at 850-300-HOPE. More information can be found at HopeFlorida.com. Floridians interested in becoming foster parents can call 1-83 Foster FL to speak with current or former foster parents.

“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,” DCF Secretary Shevaun Harris said about the initiative. “We are so grateful for the First Lady’s work to give Floridians the tools and community connections needed to raise happy, healthy children.”

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