Fathers for Children is dedicated to offering dads fighting for custody or visitation rights free counseling and legal advice. Public meetings take place in the Koffee Kat.
Photo by Teah Dowling
PLATTSBURGH — Joseph Babbie hasn’t seen his kids since November.
The 35-year-old Plattsburgh resident lost custody of his kids, who are 6 and 4, after receiving several DWI’s and going to prison for 19 months.
“I messed up and I ruined my credibility to the court,” he said. “But instead of looking at it negatively, I decided to take my life in a positive step.”
Babbie launched Fathers for Children in February 2016 to collaborate with other dads facing similar issues.
The non-profit organization is designed to aid local fathers counseling and legal advice as they engage in custody fights.
The purpose is to offer fathers support and show them that they are not alone, said Babbie.
The group offers dads family-friendly activities such as laser tag days and movie nights, along with community service opportunities.
Counselor Chris Byrne, 48, lost custody of his newborn son while serving in the Gulf War over two decades ago.
When he returned, he did not seek full custody for a number of reasons, including his good relationship with the child’s mother.
A majority of fathers in the group, which contains six members, are fighting for visitation rights to full custody, said Babbie.
“There’s so much out there for mothers facing this, but there’s nothing for fathers,” Byrne said. “They need that help too and they need to associate themselves with someone who’s facing the same thing.”
The nonprofit is looking to expand their resources by obtaining a permanent location for public meetings and getting more counselors and lawyers involved.
Right now, the public meetings take place in Koffee Kat. Future dates are being scheduled.
The group also plans to raise awareness of their mission by hosting local events, such as a 5K run and fun walk that’s slated for Saturday, June 17 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the U.S. Oval.
The goal, Babbie said, is to bring in more fathers to help each other throughout their struggles.
“I don’t know if I’ll ever have joint custody, but I just want to see my kids,” he said. “It’s hard at times, but this group helps.”
More information can be found at fathersforchildrenorg.us or on the Facebook page “Fathers for Children.” Contact Babbie at 518-572-8009 for any questions or concerns.