31 Aug The road to becoming a better dad
Father’s Day is a day to say thanks to all the Dads who are part of the Uniting family. In particular, we’re taking the opportunity today to celebrate fathers like John* who have overcome significant challenges to be there for their kids. This is John’s story.
Former long-haul truck driver, John, saw some tough stuff during his time on the road – a lifestyle that’s often characterised by drug use and violence. The father of four sons – two now grown, as well as a teenager and a rambunctious five-year-old – was doing the best he could with the parenting skills he had, but was eventually referred to Uniting Newpin by the NSW Department of Family and Community Services (FACS) after his youngest son was removed from his care.
For John, the referral to the family restoration program was yet another hard road to travel, but one he knew he had to take. The thought of permanently losing his boy – whom John had cared for from birth as solo parent – was the motivation he needed to step up. Not only did it give him a new perspective on life, he says he now enjoys better relationships with all four of his sons.
When FACS referred John to Uniting Newpin, he knew he was determined for his son to be returned to his care, but says he was uncertain what it involved at first.
“I remember the first time I went [to Newpin] I heard other dads tell their stories about how they got their kids back,” said John. “I kept quiet at first, but it wasn’t long until I felt comfortable to tell my story and to get to know the other dads. I enjoyed every day I went there and did everything that was required. My sole purpose was to get my son back.”
“Newpin was good for me – no-one judges you. It’s a very trying time when you lose a child. I was lucky to witness seven or eight restorations. I now keep in contact with eight or nine blokes who’ve got their kids back and they are doing really well.”
John is now a full-time stay-at-home dad and has started a course in youth counselling. Next year, when his son starts school, he plans to pick up some casual driving work while he completes his studies.
Happy Father’s Day to John and all our Uniting dads!
Uniting Newpin is a therapeutic restoration program that empowers families to break the cycle of child neglect and abuse in order to provide safe, nurturing environments for their children. Newpin was first established in Australia 1998 and has since enabled hundreds of children to remain with or be reunified with their families. Call us on 1800 864 846, email us or visit our Uniting Newpin page to learn more.
*Name has been changed for privacy and confidentiality purposes. Stock image used.