If you are in Tallahassee and are looking to meet Representative Spencer Roach, you might catch him at Whataburger wolfing a double cheeseburger with jalapeños. But when Roach isn’t there or in the Capitol building representing Florida’s district 79, he is home in North Fort Myers with his two foster children.
Roach, who is single, recently obtained his foster care license over Thanksgiving week and he now has custody of two siblings, both still in diapers. He is currently short-term fostering, which means he is a legal guardian for kids who need emergency shelter or respite care.
“I have learned a lot,” says Roach when speaking about foster parenthood. “Which sippy cups are the best, the mysterious way pacifiers disappear, the importance of bathtub toys and the need to have snacks/juice at the ready for car rides. The fact that you need an engineering degree to install a newer-model car seat, and the best way to get chocolate milk out of an expensive rug.”
After serving 10 years in the United States Coast Guard, Roach had ample opportunity to hone his time management skills. So how does he manage his time now, being both a legislator and a single foster parent?
“For someone who has never been a parent, the weight of responsibility is awe-inspiring: to have two children handed to you with a custody letter from the state noting that you are responsible for their safety and well being. It’s hard to describe the feeling to know that you are their whole world, that someone is depending on you for their need. It is sort of humbling and kind of scary at the same time.” said Roach.
While his parental responsibilities come first, he spends a lot of time serving the people in his district. The two priorities often go hand-in-hand.
When asked about what his first priority was for his first year in office, Roach explained his passion for the children of Florida’s foster care system.
“My signature accomplishment in my first session was House Bill 421, titled “A Year is a Long Time in the Life of a Child Act.” This bill reduced the amount of time abused and neglected children spend in foster care to one year,” said Roach. “No child should languish for years in the foster care system, and every kid deserves a permanent home. When I presented this bill on the House floor, I asked the members to use their vote to send a message to the 24,000 kids in foster care that their voice has been heard and that help is on the way.”
Roach’s bill was passed in both chambers unanimously and was signed into law by the Governor.
His Pandora app set to the Van Morrison channel, Roach also enjoys reading and traveling.
“I have a love affair with South and Central America and have traveled extensively in this region – if I had free time I would spend it traipsing around South and Central America,” said Roach.
Spencer Roach Fact Sheet