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John Hanley: My Experience Working with Children at the Haitian/Dominican Border

December 6, 2021, 12:00 PM


Upon completing my BA in Psychology I worked in a Children’s Residential Treatment Center in Florida from 1995 – 2006. During that time I completed masters degrees in Social Work and Healthcare Administration.

In 2007 my wife Melissa and our 6 year-old daughter Kate moved to the Dominican Republic. From 2007 – 2010 we were on the North Coast where I helped an organization establish an accredited primary care clinic serving the community.

In 2010 we moved to Jimani on the southern border of the Dominican Republic and Haiti. We initially worked with a different organization to get another clinic established and accredited, but they also wanted to establish a Children’s Home in the community. Upon getting both projects up and running, unfortunately in 2015, due to internal conflict, the organization stopped its work in the Dominican Republic. At that point my wife and I decided to establish our own 501(c)3 to continue the Children’s Home and continue to care for the 18 children in our care.

A few months later we expanded and opened a second home, a Youth Shelter, in the neighboring Haitian town of Fonds-Parisien. We currently have 16 kids between the ages of 2 – 17 in our Children’s Home, 6 young men and women in our Transition Program as they have aged out of care, but remain part of our family, and average 10 – 12 kids a day in our emergency/shelter program.

Our focus on the DR is children that at some point immigrated from Haiti to the DR with a parent or parents. However, while they were in the DR came to the attention of the Child Welfare system and were placed in our care. On the Haitian side of the border, we focus on at-risk kids that are likely attempting to cross the border alone, and our goal is to reunite them with their families or provide care to keep them from crossing the border by placing them in our shelter, enrolling them in a local school, and working with both them and their families to provide permanency and stability



December 6, 2021
12:00 PM


Online Event


Mid-Maine Global Forum
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