Fatherhood comes in many different forms, but at its best and at heart, it is about family, love, and standing up for children. This Father’s Day we reflect on the many incredible dads that work with us to advocate for their children and the millions of kids across the state who need a helping hand. We have the great pleasure to hear from incredible men wanting to share their story in hopes that it will encourage change and help others on similar paths. One of these is Mickey, who came to be like a dad for his nephew Leland.
His journey into fatherhood began with a late night phone call from authorities, alerting Mickey that his baby nephew was no longer safe at home. Just a young man in his early twenties, having little idea of what was in store for him, Mickey stepped up that very night to be there for the child. He drove halfway across the state to help. Soon, both their lives were changed forever.
He assumed custody of Leland, and they soon got to know about services like early childhood intervention and Child Protective Services' "kinship care" supports. Through it all, Mickey learned the pivotal difference supportive public systems could make in helping a once-neglected child learn to speak, a stunned young man make his way, and a newly formed family blossom.
In 2011, when these family supports were threatened with budget cuts, Mickey testified before state lawmakers so they would understand the meaning of these services for Texans like him. In his testimony, Mickey shared his experience saying, “I work full-time, so Leland attends childcare during the day. We spend the afternoons playing at the park, reading books, or making art for the fridge."
“He calls me 'Daddy' when I pick him up from school,
and I’m proud to hold the title.”
That year, lawmakers abandoned their earlier plans for deep cuts to services for families like Mickey's. This year, with continued pressure from Texans Care for Children and families statewide, lawmakers invested millions more in services for relative caregivers and kids needing early childhood intervention.
Stories like Mickey's inspire us to continue to work every day to give more families a voice in decisions that affect their lives and to speak out for what helps children and families most. With your support, we are able to continue this vital work. This Father’s Day, please consider a Father’s Day gift to celebrate the special men in your life. With your gift, we can ensure the next generation of Texas leaders have what they need to ensure a bright future for our state. Please donate now.
Child Welfare Policy Associate