Harlem Dowling-West Side Center for Children and Family Services, founded in 1836 as the Colored Orphan’s Asylum, provides family preservation, family support services for children with development disabilities, after school programming, evidence-informed interventions, groups, and Emergency Food Pantry services to individuals residing in the New York City area.

We keep families together by offering an array of services to meet their needs.  Our programs are strength-based and family-centered with 98% of the children remaining safely at home with their families in a nurturing environment.  We provide after school services to more than 500 children daily while our Emergency Food Pantry provides food packages to more than 5,000 New Yorkers each year.

Family Strengthening – General Preventive Services

The program provides case management services to families with safety and risk factors that impact family functioning, child development, and well-being.  Services include individual, group and family counseling, Parenting Journey Training (English & Spanish), referrals, and advocacy.

Family Support Services

Service Coordination and Family Reimbursement provide case management services to individuals who are developmentally disabled.  Families are connected to long-term care coordination services funded by the NYS Office of People with Developmental Disabilities.

Community Parenting Partnership Program (CPPP)

Community Parenting Partnership Program (CPPP) works to reduce child abuse/maltreatment, neglect by providing individual and group level evidence-based interventions to children/youth, ages 0-17 and their parents/caregivers in the Central Harlem community of New York City.

Children Educational Services

Harlem Dowling-West Side Center for Children and Family Services has been providing after school services in the Harlem community for more than 20 years.  We have provided after-school programming to more than 6,000 youth in Harlem.  Our program includes the Intergenerational Service Learning program with Logan Gardens, an assisted living residence for seniors.  Our collaboration with Columbia University’s Teachers College provides various educational opportunities for our participants.  Programming includes Health & Nutrition, Literacy, and STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts,  & Mathematics) activities such as a robotics.

Evidence-Based & Evidence-informed Services

Strong African American Families

Harlem Dowling is the first agency in New York State to provide Strong African American Families (SAAF) groups that are supported by research evidence.  Strong African-American Families (SAAF) and Strong African-American Families – Teen (SAAF-T) interventions provides a safe and supportive group setting through which parents/caregivers and children aged 10-14 and 14-16 respectively, can come together to strengthen their relationships, develop constructive conflict resolution skills, and address common issues that the children and their parents/caregivers face at work, home, and school.

GenerationPMTO (Parent Management Training – The Oregon Model)

Harlem Dowling is also one of two agencies in New York State to offer GenerationPMTO (Parent Management Training – the Oregon Model) that is well supported by research evidence.  GenerationPMTO treatment program is a 12-session, individual intervention that provides parents/caregivers with tools, support, and strategies to promote their children’s healthy adjustment and well-being.

“Each year, Harlem Dowling serves more than 7,500 individuals including children, their families, and senior citizens.”

What is HDWC mission?

As a not-for-profit child welfare agency, Harlem Dowling-West Side Center for Children & Family Services works to develop confidence, resilience, academic skills, and adult/family support to be the foundation for helping Harlem’s children become responsible, self-sufficient adults.

What was Harlem Dowling’s original name?

The Association for the Benefit of Colored Children in the State of New York (also known as Colored Orphan Asylum)

Who founded Harlem Dowling and in what year?

Two Quaker women, Anna Shotwell and Mary Murray in 1836


Jaye Smith and Jean Patton

Executive Director

Executive Director, Karen Dixon