MIDDLEFIELD, Conn. (WTNH) — With Father’s Day coming up on Sunday, the Connecticut Department of Children and Families (DCF) is celebrating dads and the important role they play in a child’s life.

The “Best Day by Par” golf event sponsored by DCF, took place Wednesday at the Lyman Orchards Golf Club in Middlefield.

The agency wanted to give foster and biological fathers a day out on the golf course to celebrate all they do to help children. Officials with DCF said fathers have a great influence on children’s lives, and there is a great need for foster fathers to come forward.

The agency wanted to give foster and biological fathers a day out on the golf course to celebrate all they do to help children. Officials with DCF said fathers have a great influence on children’s lives, and there is a great need for foster fathers to come forward.

“We went from zero to six kids in six months after going through the licensing process,” foster father Joe Freitas said.

Freitas has been a father to 54 kids – foster, adopted, and biological – in the past 25 years, and he highly recommends it.

“And you get tenfold back.”

The agency also helps birth fathers who may have had a tough time and now want to get back in their children’s lives.

Willie Robinson, of Meridien, experienced years of substance abuse, criminal involvement, and unhealthy relationships. As a young dad, he lost custody of his children. After getting the help he needed, Robinson is now caring for his biological 13-year-old son and another child who needed a stable and loving home.

Robinson received the “Best Day by Par” award Wednesday.

“I’m happy every day I see him,” Robinson said. “It’s just a joy to be home, watching play the game, you know, just showing love. Just showing him love and being an example as a father.”

Officials with DCF said they believe in second chances.

“The department believes in rehabilitation, and we know that people deserve a second chance,” said Commissioner Vannessa Dorantes, LMSW. “Willie Robinson changed his life, and now he has the opportunity to change the life of another person. We are grateful for his willingness to assist this young child in need.”

Among these dads, we also met a son who told us how his life was changed for the better when he met the right family.

“I think the hardest holidays were Mother’s Day and Father’s Day,” said Jose Garcia, a foster child. What do you do when you don’t have your own mom and dad?”

That changed for Garcia, who after an adoption that didn’t work out, was placed in the home of his foster father, Kevin, and his wife, Sherry. He was 14 then; he’s now 29.

“I don’t really say foster anymore I just say, dad and mom,” Garcia said.

Click here if you would like to learn more about foster care or adoption.