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'Baby Court' celebrates first graduation of parents

Early intervention program supports families in crisis

SAN ANTONIO – One by one graduates paraded into a Bexar County courtroom Thursday, wearing their caps and gowns. They were the first graduating class of Bexar County’s Early Intervention Program, which is also known by many as Baby Court.

The program's mission is to teach mothers and fathers how to become nurturing parents by providing them the help they need to turn their lives around.

“Before we got into this program, we were addicts,” graduate Cynthia West said.

West said she was angry at first, but she still went through what was required.

“When I first started, I didn’t have no self-esteem, no confidence. I was hurting,” she said.

West and the other parents worked for an entire year to overcome their addictions or escape domestic violence in order to regain custody of their children.

Due to abuse or neglect, children from the age of newborn up to 3 years old were placed in foster care by Child Protective Services.

“We want to reduce the time that children spend in the foster care system,” Children’s Court Judge Peter Sakai said.

Having seen the need for intervention time and again, Sakai spearheaded the program’s creation. It took public and private funding to make it happen.

Those involved in the program said those efforts helped provide opportunities to repair and reunite families that otherwise might have been forever broken.  

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