A Single Father Gets Custody of His Baby
Posted on: Thursday, April 1, 2010Our public health department received a referral from child protection to visit a family in which a newborn had been removed from its 35-year-old mother’s custody because of some substance abuse issues. The mother had three other children from a previous relationship who were in foster care, and she had been living with the father of her new baby, whose name was not listed on a baby’s birth certificate.
The man, a 42-year-old first-time father, needed to establish paternity before the child could be returned to him from foster care. He wavered on whether he wanted to parent the child and agreed to a psychological evaluation and court-ordered visits from a public health nurse.
The nurse was able to make weekly visits to this single father to help him gain parenting skills and support him while he gained custody of his child. He had never been around children before and he needed to learn many parenting skills. The visits helped him obtain medical care coverage for his child and find day care so he could continue to work. The visits included teaching parenting skills such as bathing, feeding, and home safety as well as parent-child interaction. Well-child checks and illness care were also discussed.
The child is now currently up-to-date with immunization and well-child check-ups. The father also knows the importance of monitoring lead levels because they live in an old farmhouse and has made safety improvements around the home. As of August, the father will have custody of his child. The father continues to learn about nutrition and growth and development. He owns a business that is governed by seasonal work and he is looking forward to the time when is business is slow so he can spend more time with him.
Through regular home visits, the public health nurse was able to work as a client advocate and mentor in collaboration with social services and the court system to help this father and child become a self-sufficient and loving family.