School Readiness Program HB945

[North Fort Myers, FL] Today, Representative Spencer Roach filed HB 945 to eliminate the skyrocketing out-of-pocket costs for childcare currently shouldered by foster parents in the state of Florida.  Despite state vouchers that cover a portion of the cost for early learning, there is often a significant difference between what the voucher pays and what the providers charge. 

Roach stated: “On the low end, foster parents are coming out of pocket around $200 or $300 a month for a single child in a low cost-of-living county, and on the higher end, parents are shelling out as much as $1500 – $2000 a month for families with multiple children under the age of 5.  Florida is the only state that mandates childcare for foster children without funding it.  This is wrong, and we can and should do better.  My bill will fully fund childcare for all foster children under five, which includes 11,000 children.  Given our enormous revenue surplus this year, I can’t think of a higher priority to fund.” 

Amanda Cruce, President of the Florida Foster and Adoptive Parent Association noted, “High quality childcare is so important for kids that come into foster care. These rising costs are a barrier to finding new foster parents and keeping current ones. This is a huge step forward and we are grateful to partner with Representative Roach on this pivotal issue.”

Representative Roach is a licensed foster parent and has fostered ten children since getting licensed almost three years ago. He has filed at least one child welfare reform bill every session, including bills to reduce the timeline for a termination of parental rights hearing, and a bill to give grandparents and extended members the ability to petition the court for a transition plan that is in the best interest of the child, both of which were signed into law by Governor DeSantis. 
 
## Representative Roach represents House District 79 in the Florida House of Representatives. He was first elected in 2018. His district includes eastern and northern unincorporated Lee County.  

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