By the time he was 4 years old, Matthew had already experienced the type of traumatic situations in his life that would be difficult for many adults to bear. Matthew’s mother struggled with alcoholism, while his father’s life was plagued by poverty and instability. Due to those circumstances, Matthew lived primarily with his grandparents, who provided him with a loving and stable home.
Prior to the Custody Advocacy Team’s (CAP) appointment, the judge granted Matthew’s father temporary custody. To ensure his father was an appropriate custodian, the CAP team made multiple visits to the father’s home. The CAP team discovered that Matthew’s father was not providing him with adequate living arrangements.
Without informing any of the involved parties, the father abruptly moved out of state with Matthew. Worried for Matthew’s safety, the CAP team sprang into action. When the father refused to bring Matthew back to North Carolina, despite the requirements in the court order, the CAP team secured an emergency order to force the father to return Matthew. CAP partnered with the N.C. Division of Missing Persons and law enforcement to bring Matthew home.
At the permanent custody trial, the judge agreed with CAP’s recommendation for Matthew to remain in the primary custody of his grandparents. Today, thanks to the remarkable efforts and hard work of the grandparents and the CAP team, Matthew resides in a loving home, receives adequate care, and is growing up safe, healthy and educated.