Joe came to our program as a single father of a baby girl. He had become involved with Child Welfare Services when he called them to report that the baby’s mother was behaving erratically and posing a danger to the baby. Father hadn’t realized until he entered into services that Mother’s behaviors toward him and the baby had risen to the level of abuse. The Family Court judge placed the baby with Father, given Mother’s chronic history of mental health issues, and allowed Mother only supervised visits.
HVS staff had visits with this first-time father in his home, where he enjoyed very good support from his family of origin, including his own mother who lived on an adjoining property. Father’s older siblings also had children and were regularly in touch with him via FaceTime. As services continued we were impressed with his high level of attunement with the baby, and also with his skills in caregiving. As it turned out, we primarily confirmed and reinforced his caregiving practices. He was consistently open to the information we provided, though he sometimes disagreed with recommendations and preferred doing things differently. We added information and coaching to support him in proactively promoting the baby’s development. Father was most concerned about the baby’s early exposure to her mother’s behaviors, and we were able to reassure him on that score.
Recently CWS closed his case, and so our services have also ended. In the closing visit with his Support Worker, he referred to the small HVS team as the “Fearsome Four” and said he had been very impressed with the program as a whole. And, as good as he had been before working with us, his AAPI score (a parenting competency scale) went from 39 at intake to 47 at closure (3 from a perfect 50).