In a year filled with unprecedented challenges, CAPC has been supporting at-risk families throughout Contra Costa County. One of our many successes was a dad in CAPC’s Parent Partner Program. He was involved with Contra Costa County’s Children and Family Services (CSF) due to his child’s mother’s mental health, but as the case developed, substance abuse and domestic violence were also issues that needed to be addressed. The child’s mother’s mental illness was so severe that it prohibited her from attending court. But this Dad showed up to every court date and every visit and clearly loved his daughter very much. Sadly, fathers are not looked at with the same lens as mothers are and have been overlooked as a viable option for custody of their children too many times to count. Others gave this father zero chance of reunifying and had no faith in him, but CAPC staff was there to support him. Dad received bad information time and time again that jeopardized his chances of gaining custody of his daughter. CAPC staff corrected what he had heard, mentored and encouraged him along his journey, attending his court hearings and meetings with him and providing other resources.

One day, Dad reached a turning point. After a frank conversation with staff that brought him to tears, he began to work his case plan with purpose. In fact, he made such a drastic change in his life that neither his attorney nor CAPC staff recognized him at his next court appointment because his appearance changed so much in sobriety.

Covid-19 hit at the same time that he was scheduled to begin unsupervised and overnight visits with his daughter. Again, he received misinformation about the visits that scared and discouraged him, compounded by new challenges from shelter-in-place restrictions. CAPC staff was there to clarify what he needed to do for his daughter and provide other support and resources. CAPC’s Sue Fleischner Special Needs Fund paid a hotel room for the dad to have overnight visits in and gave him a gift card for food and diapers purchased with a grant from Share the Spirit. CAPC also provided a playpen for the baby to sleep in while visiting her Dad.

Dad graduated his program and despite interference from the child’s grandmother and little faith from many, he got a job, an apartment and childcare, and now his young daughter is living with him full time. If not for CAPC’s intervention and Share the Spirit’s support, Dad and his daughter would not be together today.