What We Believe
We believe that an orphanage should not be the first line of care for a child and is not the best long-term option for a child.
We believe that every effort should be made to expand options available for vulnerable children and families.
We believe that reaching a goal of “family based care” in Haiti requires that we all work together to expand: family strengthening, alternative care options, social work practice, reunification programs, economic opportunities, support for youth transitioning to independence, and separation prevention efforts.
We believe that there are no perfect models of programming but there are global best practices that can guide us in Haiti.
We believe that the voices of Haitian children, youth, and families are critically important.
What We Do
The Haiti Family Care Network is a collective impact movement for social change with a focus on C.A.R.E.
Through collaboration we can all learn from one another’s successes and challenges. This allows everyone to work in a way that promotes best practices.
We seek to lift up and amplify excellence by sharing stories and examples from Network participants. Our voices are better heard when we use them collectively.
All resources offered on this website are free of charge and accessible to anyone. Resources will be shared widely and gaps in tools and knowledge identified.
We offer one training each quarter focused on topics specific to participant interests, using the skills of competent and experienced practitioners working in Haiti.
Everyone is invited to participate, learn, grow, and share experiences that improve the lives of children and youth in Haiti.
In 2021, a group of five organizations committed to seeing a shift towards family based care in Haiti began to meet regularly, desiring to build on the collaborative conversations that had been taking place in this domain for the past several years. One commonality shared was that each of these organizations was receiving requests on a regular basis for assistance, information, and resources related to the many facets of family based care. As the Haitian government has shifted its priority away from orphanage care as the primary form of care for vulnerable children, and towards family based care instead, many organizations have been left confused and concerned about implementation. As a response to the need for accessible resources and better collaboration (both among organizations and between organizations and the Haitian government), the Haiti Family Care Network was born.
Those five organizations committed to participating on the Leadership Council, and together worked to develop the organizational structure of the Network. Each of the Leadership Council organizations has years of experience in Haiti and between them they represent almost the full spectrum of support needed for the shift to family based care: family strengthening, trauma-informed care, child trafficking prevention, short-term residential care, family tracing, economic empowerment, education, and family reunification.
A shift of this magnitude in Haiti will require the contributions of many organizations working in various capacities throughout the country, diverse in their work but united in the desire to see Haitian children protected and families thriving. Although the Leadership Council has many resources and a lot of cumulative experience working with Haitian children and families, they do not claim to have all of the answers. They are simply a group committed to collaborating, learning, and working towards widely accepted best practice.
Leadership Council Organizations
In August of 2021 the Haiti Family Care Network was officially formed, operating under the legal status of Rapha International, through the coordination of a Leadership Council and Coordinator.
Rapha International exists to combat the trafficking and sexual exploitation of children. Rapha operates aftercare and prevention programs in Cambodia, Thailand and Haiti. Rapha has been operating in Haiti since 2013, providing aftercare services to survivors of human trafficking and sexual exploitation, and collaborating with the government and other partners in child protection and trafficking prevention efforts.
Espere Community Counseling Center works to improve global access to mental health education and support services. Since 2014, Espere’s team of local psychologists and mental health workers have been providing mental health awareness, advocacy and counseling services to families and communities throughout Haiti. One of Espere’s primary focuses is to help children and families build healthy attachments and develop trauma-informed tools and practices that allow them to thrive.
Founded in Gressier, Haiti in 2011, Respire Haiti’s school has over 540 students with teachers trained in Trust Based Relational Intervention techniques and safe classroom management techniques. The Respire medical clinic offers general medical services, occupational and physical therapy, as well as mental health counseling. Additionally, Respire provides family counseling, individual counseling, and other counseling services to orphanages and other schools in the community with an aim towards ensuring families stay together.
Hope Community Project (formerly Haiti Orphan Project) has been serving in Gonaives, Haiti since 2011. Hope Community Project started as an orphanage and transitioned to an orphan prevention organization after realizing the benefits of family based care. HCP is active stateside by educating the Church and helping move donor funds from institutional care to prevention. In Haiti, Hope Community Project protects children, preserves families, promotes economic independence, and provides school scholarships and affordable health care.
Little Footprints Big Steps (LFBS) has worked to protect vulnerable children in Haiti’s South Department and Grand Anse since 2011 by reuniting families and empowering them with resources to build a self-sufficient future. By reinforcing the family unit, they strive to foster the health, self-worth, and social reintegration of children who have been mistreated. LFBS works alongside Haitian authorities and community leaders to reunite children with their families and to empower families through income generating opportunities, education and vocational training support, community reinforcement programming, and advocacy.
What is the Haiti Family Care Network?
The Haiti Family Care Network is a collaborative resource-sharing network for individuals and organizations working with children, youth and families in Haiti.
Where is the Network located?
The Network is a virtual/online platform without a physical office space. Our Leadership Council members live and work both in the US and Haiti.
Do you have Haitian leadership?
Each of our Leadership Council member organizations have both Haitian and American leaders. We will continue to seek input from Haitian leaders in family based care and from IBESR and will provide resources and tools in Creole and/or French as often as possible.
How can I participate in the Network?
There are lots of ways to get involved in the Haiti Family Care Network. You can visit our website to find resources on a variety of topics such as family strengthening, child protection, understanding and navigating the local government processes and procedures related to children, and reuniting children with their families.
We will be launching different resources and trainings at different times so watch your email and social media feeds.
Our upcoming newsletter, this website, and our quarterly online or in-person events will allow you to learn about what others working in this field are doing. You can let us know if you would like to share resources or stories about your program’s successes, post a relevant event announcement, or lead an event so we can learn from you too.
Can I become a “member”?
The Haiti Family Care Network is not membership based. Participation is free, transparent and without strings attached. We do not offer paid membership, request dues, or charge for any training at this point. (Future in-person convenings may require a fee to cover costs.)
What if I can’t find a resource I’m looking for?
We are in the process of curating the Haiti-specific resources owned by our Leadership Council, resources provided by other organizations, and resources related to global best practice. These will become available thematically on a regular basis. Find out more in the Learn section of the website.
You are welcome to contact us if there is a topic, resource, or tool that you are seeking, to help us identify the needs and gaps in information. Please watch your email (if you have signed up for our email list) and your social media for notifications regarding our ongoing launch of resources. If you have a great resource of relevance to share or a training to present, please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org
I currently work with or support an orphanage in Haiti. Is this Network a place for me?
Yes! Whether you have already joined the growing number of orphanages and children’s homes that are changing the way they support children, you’re curious to learn more about other options, or you are looking for resources and best practices to support the children currently in your care, this is the place for you.
I support/work in/volunteer/finance an orphanage and am concerned; should I stop my support?
Please do not read our message as a call to immediately stop funding, unless there is known abuse or corruption in the project you are supporting. This is not an easy question to answer as each situation needs to be assessed individually before any decisions are made. (Click here for a funding evaluation tool.) The process of shifting towards family based care and the myriad of programs necessary to support vulnerable children, youth, and families requires that everyone invest in a careful process of change. If you immediately pull your support from your orphanage, the children will likely suffer. Instead we suggest that you get involved in helping your orphanage or organization better understand the impact of long-term orphanage care, consider investing in social work and trauma therapy for the children living there, and evaluate the possibility of children returning home, moving to foster families, or transitioning to independent living. There are many resources here that can start you on a path to being involved in a transformation of the way children are cared for in Haiti.
Can the Network fund my Haiti-based project?
We offer resources free of charge, but we do not fund participants or programs, or offer financial assistance to Haitian children, youth, or families.
Where can I report a child protection concern?
The Network does not receive child protection reports or concerns, nor will it “investigate” reports. We will be creating a resource that outlines the steps you or your organization can take to report abuse or concerns to the Haitian government directly.
How is the Network funded? Can I contribute?
The Network is currently funded by the Leadership Council organizations and external donors. We are looking for partners/donors to fund a longer-term vision and more activities related to convening, listening, learning, and research. If you are interested in partnering please contact us at email@example.com.