- Massachusetts Probation Service
Media Contact for Barnstable County Probation has the longest running Fatherhood Program and offers very first Mothers Program on the Cape
Coria Holland, Communications Director
Barnstable, MA — The Barnstable County Fatherhood Program has the distinction of offering the longest running Fatherhood Program of the nine programs across the state. Barnstable County is also the site of the Cape’s very first Motherhood Program and the newest of the 11 Motherhood, Mothers, and Women’s programs statewide.
This week, the Barnstable Fatherhood Program—comprised of District, Juvenile, Probate & Family, and Superior Courts—held its 22nd annual graduation ceremony during which 10 fathers, ages 23 to 48, were presented with certificates. State Representative Timothy R. Whelan addressed the fathers and spoke about the impact of being a father of one’s children even if the father is not physically present.
The celebration was held Monday, June 17, at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Barnstable. Orleans District Assistant Chief Probation Officer (ACPO) R. Wayne Chase, Barnstable District ACPO Officer Barry Nunes, Barnstable Probate & Family ACPO Christopher Hercun, and Barnstable Superior ACPO Brendan Lucey facilitate the 12-week program which features sessions on child support, navigating Probate & Family Court, child development, and maintaining healthy relationships.
One of the most compelling and heartfelt sessions is when the participants are asked to write letters to their own fathers. Many are filled with raw emotion and are not the typical Father’s Day greeting card wording. Three of the fathers read their letters aloud at the graduation.
“The rewarding part is when you see the men really embrace fatherhood. Some are chasing the drug or alcohol and then they realize that there are these little people who really rely on them,” Chase said.
Since 1997, nearly 300 fathers have completed the program and approximately 500 children have benefited from this programming which is based on the Five Principles of Fatherhood: Give affection to my children, give gentle guidance to my children, provide financial support to my children and mother of my children, demonstrate respect at all times to the mother of my children and set a proud example by living within the law and without the taint of alcohol and drug abuse.
From left: Fatherhood Program participant Corey Frigo, Assistant Chief Probation Officers Brendan Lucey and Chris Hercun, participants Andrew Lockhard, and Stephen Ebersold, Assistant Chief Probation Officer Barry Nunes, participants Stephen Gorman, Vincent English, Jayson Hebert, and Dino Tillman, Assistant Chief Probation Officer Wayne Chase, and participant Nathan Colsia.
While the Fatherhood Program has longevity, the Barnstable Motherhood Program is the newest of the dozen Mothers, Motherhood, and Women’s programs across the state. The Barnstable Motherhood Program recently graduated a class of five women, ages 28 to 33. The program is facilitated by Orleans District Probation Officers Sharon Enright, Kristen Monteiro as well as Probation Case Specialist Angela Ricard. It was Chase and Orleans District Chief Probation Officer Leonard Enos who first approached Enright and asked her to start the Cape’s first Motherhood Program which is open to women with or without custody of their children in the Barnstable County area.
“I jumped at the suggestion as I felt there is a tremendous need for a program like this in the area,” Enright said.
The 12-week program features weekly guest speakers and a variety of topics are explored such as gentle guidance, substance abuse, nutrition, self-defense, stress management/self-care, keeping children safe, domestic abuse, trauma with children, and healthy relationships. The program is also based on Five Principles of Motherhood: Give affection to my children, give gentle guidance to my children, provide a safe home for my children, set a proud example for my children by having self-respect, and live within the law and without the taint of alcohol or drug use.
Former First Justice of Barnstable District Court and now an Appeals Court Judge Kathryn Hand spoke at the May 30th graduation where she shared her experiences as a mother with the audience.
A recent graduate said of the program, “I wanted to learn new things and meet new people which I did. The presenters were amazing and made the group fun and engaging.”
From left: Graduating mother Allyn G., Probation Case Specialist and facilitator Angela Ricard, Assistant Chief Probation Officer and Program Coordinator R Wayne Chase, Probation Officer and facilitator Kristen Monteiro, Probation Officer and facilitator Sharon Enright, and graduating mothers Ashley C., Hillary W., and Bianca O. Not pictured is graduating mother Amanda C.