FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

THE ORGANIZATION

Q: When was Devoted to Children founded?

Devoted to Children (D2C) was founded in May of 2012 and the D2C Family Home opened its doors on July 24, 2012.

Q: Who manages the organization?

Kristin O’Connell is the Founder and together with a Board of Directors of eight women, the organization is run collectively. On the ground in Haiti the Family Home and community projects are overseen by our In-Country Director, Diane Gaillard. She manages the Haitian staff who care for the kids, and organizes the staff for our projects.

Q: What is the structure of the organization – is it a nonprofit? Religious organization?

Devoted to Children is a US registered 501(c)3 non profit organization. D2C is not affiliated with any religious organization.

Q: What is your long-term vision for the organization? Do you plan to accept more children into the Family Home over time?

The guardianship of the children is contracted until they each turn 18 years of age. Our long-term vision is to support our eight kids to go on to higher learning or to receive vocational training to support their independence. We do not plan on accepting new children at this time, but we do intend to expand our community outreach to serve more children in the community at large. In addition, we are required through Haitian Social Services (IBERS) to leave two additional beds open for both a girl and a boy for temporary placements.
Kids dancing_wall

THE CHILDREN

Q: How many children live in the orphanage? How did you find them?

We have eight children, four boys and four girls. They each have unique stories. However, some came to the Family Home through referrals of community leaders and others were placed through the Haitian Social Services (IBERS).

Q: Where do the children live? Who takes care of them at the Family Home?

Our children live in the D2C Family Home which is a very nice and large 3 bedroom, 2 bath home with a playroom. The house is rented long-term and was brand new upon moving in. Besides our In Country Director, Diane, our head nanny Madame Nicole live full-time in the house with the children. There is full-time security detail to ensure the children are safe, and another nanny who supports the cooking, cleaning and laundry with Nicole. Every staff member is an integral part of these kids lives and contribute to the various parental roles. Not only does each staff member feel they are part of an extended family, they are excellent role models for the kids.

Q: How did you decide which children to take in?

It was very difficult to determine who would be accepted in the Family Home, as there are countless kids in need in Haiti. D2C established a strict criteria so that children would not be removed from their parents. This is often the problem with Haitian orphanages, since they are culturally viewed as a desirable advantage.
The highest priority was given to children who were considered a “restavek’ (child slave) or were physically abused. Secondly, to a child that was orphaned or abandoned for many years by their parents. Unfortunately, children placed with us through Haitian Social Services (IBERS) did not always fulfill our criteria, and often no background information was provided.
After a child was identified as a possibility, D2C would follow through with due diligence and perform a site visit where the child was living at the time. If a child was deemed in a most vulnerable situation, and the criteria was applicable, D2C would begin the legal process of guardianship.

Q: What was the legal process to accept children into the Family Home?

Originally, all paperwork was done with the village notary (this is a funny blog post to come!), where guardianship of the child was transferred to Kristin O’Connell from the current guardian, usually the closest relative. The terms were that Kristin O’Connell would be responsible for the child until the age of 18, to include providing the basic necessities and an education. In addition, the local judge would also approve the guardianship paperwork and the identity of the child through a birth certificate and next of kin.
Later, after a relationship was established with Haitian Social Services (IBERS) and they recognized our Family Home as a viable orphanage for their temporary placements, the legal process was implemented through them. As a precaution, D2C still followed through with their own paperwork and guardianship. Services (IBERS) did not always fulfill our criteria, and often no background information was provided.

Q: Do you provide educational programs? Do the children go to school?

D2C funds the education of all their children, including tuition, uniforms, books and transportation to/from the school. All our kids, except our eldest Fransisco, attend the best school in the community, Fils Cam School. Fransisco, who is currently in a mechanical apprenticeship, attends St. Anne’s School part-time. St. Anne’s is the site of the D2C Afterschool Tutoring Program which serves up to 100 local kids from various schools.

Q: What services do you provide for the children?

In addition to all educational needs, D2C provides three meals a day, a beautiful home, clothing, medical care and extra-curricular activities such as dance and English classes. Most importantly the children are loved and cared for as a part of family. It is the future intent to provide vocational training to the children as is currently the case with Fransisco, our eldest.

Q: How much does it cost to run the Family Home each year?

Expenses:
– Rent for the Family Home: $6000/year
– Education for the 8 children: $5000/year
– Monthly expenses: average $3500/ month (includes Haitian staff salaries, utilities, classes, transportation to/from school, extracurricular activities)
Projects:
– Afterschool Tutoring Program $10,000/year
– Summer Camp $3000/year

Q: Why/how do you incorporate yoga and meditation into the Family Home?

Yoga and meditation are an integral part of the kids lives and each of the D2C projects. The kids participate in yoga classes with our Seva volunteers. The Summer Camp offers yoga, and mindfulness is taught in the Afterschool Program. We hope to expand our Yoga Initiative by eventually training local teachers to teach kids in various orphanages and schools.

Q: How is the Family Home funded? Do you receive federal assistance or grants?

D2C is completely funded through private donors. D2C does not receive federal or religious organization assistance. At this time D2C has not received any grants.
Camp_all kids_blue bldg_cropped

THE PROGRAMS

Q: What is the Seva project?

“Seva” is the Sanskrit word for selfless service. The D2C Seva Volunteer Trips are an opportunity for foreigners to come to Haiti and meet the D2C kids and learn about the community projects. It is part adventure travel, part yoga retreat and part service trip. Not only are participants immersed in the Haitian culture, but they contribute to the operational of D2C’s projects through fundraising for the organization.

Q: What volunteer opportunities are available? Is any expertise or training required?

The best way to become involved with the D2C organization is to come to Haiti and meet this kids on a Seva Volunteer Trip. Additionally, there are volunteer opportunities available to support the organization thought administrative assistance, social media or fundraising, including the “Kids Helping Kids” Program.
Kids_May2017_FB