TALLAHASSEE — On Oct. 27, during a meeting of the Children and Youth Cabinet at the Florida Capitol, Florida’s first lady, Casey DeSantis, announced that the Florida Department of Education (FDOE) and the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) have partnered to provide nearly 1,000 devices to Florida children in foster care who are in need of a mobile technology device, such as a laptop or notebook, to help address the unique challenges to educational stability that these students confront.
“As parents, Gov. DeSantis and I are passionate about helping Florida’s children reach their full potential. In addition to the value of in-person instruction, this initiative supports children who have already faced significant personal challenges beyond their control,” said Mrs. DeSantis. “I am proud of this cross-agency coordination, which will enable more students to benefit from technology in their education, have access to learn outside of the school day, and gain access to services that can bolster their long-term resiliency.”
The FDOE has continuously identified and re-prioritized state and also federal funds for the purpose of supporting Florida’s most vulnerable students. The devices will be distributed to children in Bay, Brevard, Broward, Clay, Collier, Hendry, Hernando, Highlands, Holmes, Lake, Lee, Marion, Miami-Dade, Orange, Osceola, Palm Beach, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk and Seminole counties, based on data reported by the Florida Coalition for Children.
“All Florida school districts are open for in-person instruction and access to these devices creates opportunities to enhance what they are already learning in-person in front of a great teacher, and further close achievement gaps,” said Commissioner of Education Richard Corcoran. “Foster care students have faced unique levels of disruption to their learning and home environments during Florida’s response and recovery, including spikes in the need to relocate and food insecurities, and consistent mobile access to educational supports can give them some certainty in this otherwise historically challenging period for foster care students. That is why we are proud to partner with first lady DeSantis and DCF to guarantee that our children in foster care have access to services that will close their achievement gaps.”
“We’re proud to join DOE, under the leadership of first lady DeSantis, to ensure children in foster care continue receiving a top-tier education that will allow them to become strong, successful adults,” said DCF Secretary Chad Poppell. “While the traditional idea of school may look a bit different for families across the state, Florida’s children in foster care will benefit greatly from the enhanced access to educational services.
For more information about foster care and to learn more about how you can help Florida’s foster families, contact your local community-based care lead agency or visit www.myflfamilies.com/service-programs/foster-care/.