Helping Children in Need in the Dominican Republic

Frequently Asked Questions

Why are so many of the children at Niños de Cristo girls?
Young abandoned girls, or girls who have lost their parents, are considered to be especially vulnerable to harm, abuse,  exploitation and worse. Therefore giving them safe secure shelter is the hightest priority.

How much support do the orphanages recieve from the Dominican Governnment?
They recieve no financial support from the government.  Yet they are called upon by the government to take in children in immediate danger.

What happens to the children at Niños de Cristo as they get older?
There have not been that many that have passed the age of 18. Some have returned to towns and villages where they were born, often living with
family relatives, usually employed, and/or contining education, others are living in apartments in La Romana, often with other girls from Niños de Cristo, and working and/or going to college. Almost all remain involved with Niños de Cristo and return regularly to help with the younger children.

Also there are several transition homes near La Romana where some of the girls have lived after reaching 18 years of age.

The boys are younger (the oldest is 14) so that is not yet an issue.

Are all the orphanages the DECKER FOUNDATION helps non-sectarian?
Yes-All embrace cultural and religious diversity. The first and highest priority is the safety and health of the children.

How much does the Decker Foundation Recieve in Contributions?
In 2011, the total was $ 72,450. The impact of our efforts however are far greater as we have introduced foundations to the orphanges we are helping and they are contributing substantial sums directly.

Also, we have recieved $ 55,000+ in goods and services from corporate supporters like Colgate and Jet Blue.

And last but not least is the value of our volunteers’ time and efforts.

Where is it spent?
Our grants are focused in education, medical/health,  food, clothing, sundries and some captial items (contributed to original school and now expansion)

Why are the children not available for adoption?
The children at Niños de Cristo and the other orphanges are not available for adoption. That is Sonia’s personal decision as well as the founders of the others. which is respected by all.

Charlie Decker’s Opinion: These young children all have had much trauma in their lives already. The possibility of a less than ideal adoption must be considered.

Adoptive children in the developing world often end up being exploited as un paid au pairs, domestics, maids, child care givers, house keepers, etc. And now sexual  trafficing of girls has become a global problem.

And the proper process and procedure of placing children for adoption (e.g. screening prospective parents) requires staff and expense. Many of the children do not have birth certificates. Also, many do have a Mother, and their permission would be necessary. They are happy to have an orphange raise their children but surrendering them for adoption is a different matter.

Also, an adoption that would involve the child moving to another country and all that involves would be difficult. A number of the children, usually in their mid teens,  have spent a year or two with American families they met while visiting the orphange. All have returned to the Dominican Republic (and staying close to Niños de Cristo)

However, elsewhere in the Dominican Repubulic adoption is possible. but not easy. Here is a link to the Dominican government’s website on this adoption:

Dominican Government policy on Adoption

Who are some of the other organizations and foundations helping these orphanges?

Helping Orphanato Niños de Cristo

The Mandell School, New York City. Mission trips with students, faculty and parents. led by Daniel Sheth and Ken Cohen) At least two every year. - danish-dominican children's foundation,  helping children in the Dominican Republic, founded by long time friend and colleague, Aino Jakobsen.

Innocents at Risk Leading the fight again trafficking of children. Deborah S. Sigmund, Founder/Director.

We have contacted many of the organizations who advertise and promote
care for orphans, children in need, food for hungry children, etc. but have yet to find one that actually does it. They turn out be be “we are  advocates of caring for children in need” or “we don’t provide food and housing or school and medical expenses.” Also they all have large infrastructure and high salaried staff.