Westhaven Children’s Home
Up in the remote hills of Hanover Parish is a custodial home that exemplifies St. Matthew’s admonition: “In as much as you did it to one of the least of these, my brothers, you did it to me.” Westhaven Children’s Home surely houses some of the “least of these” in terms of physical and mental health coupled with a history of neglect, abandonment, abuse, and lack of love.
The Home was started in 1981 by a group of concerned citizens who had worked with the Family Court and Children’s Services. Aware that there were disabled and abandoned children needing not just housing but also love, volunteers were able to open the first cottage in 1981. Now there are four fully operational cottages with 82 children and young adults, ranging from four years to 37 years.
While the home is licensed under the Ministry of Health, the amount of support is “woefully inadequate,” according to Mrs. Gloria Veira, founder and administrator of Westhaven. Hanover Charities is one of the larger supporters, giving in 2016 JA$1 million (US$8,333).
The needs at the Home are great, for everything from adult diapers, wheelchairs, sheets and towels to volunteers to spend time with these disadvanted children and young adults. Mrs. Veira assures us, “we are grateful for any and everything.”