Single father uses experience to help other parents
Corey Best is a single father who overcame personal challenges to become a local and national advocate for birth parent and family engagement. He was honored earlier this year with a Casey Excellence for Children Award for birth parent.
We’re highlighting his story in honor of Father’s Day.
Corey was involved with the child welfare system more than a decade ago, and his first son was removed from his home due to substance abuse and parenting concerns. He successfully overcame his addiction, developed his parenting skills and now has a strong relationship with his young son.
Men get the message to “pull yourself up by your bootstraps,” he says. “You put all this weight on yourself, and you’re not supposed to crash or have any emotions or show any sense of fear or weakness. And I see now today that’s the furthest thing from the truth. Because what I need is a support network.”
He adds: “I really enjoy the responsibility and the obligation of being a father.”
Corey used the lessons he learned to support other families as a volunteer in developing their parenting and advocacy skills. That led to full-time work as the family engagement manager with the Healthy Start Coalition of Flagler and Volusia Counties in Florida, where he trains child welfare staff. He spearheaded a pilot Parent Partner program to aid families in meeting case plan goals and achieving reunification, and he serves on the Substance Exposed Newborn Task Force, advocating for more substance abuse and mental health treatment programs.
As a member of the Birth Parent National Network’s Parent Council, Corey ensures that the voices of parents are respected. He also serves on the Casey Family Programs Birth Parent Advisory Committee, advising key Casey Family Programs staff about making changes to child welfare services and systems.