Cardinal Hayes Home for Children began in 1941 when Cardinal Spellman, the Archbishop of New York at that time, asked the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary to transfer their small convalescent care center for children from Palenville, New York, to Millbrook. Under the sponsorship of the Sisters, CHHC has over the years served hundreds of youngsters from many different ethnic, religious and social backgrounds.
The main facility in Millbrook was once a private home that was built in 1925 by Oakleigh L. Thorne, a prominent member of the Millbrook community. Mr. Thorne had the mansion constructed for his daughter, who occupied the home for only a short time as she moved to California for reasons of health. Although Mr. Thorne was a Quaker, he was a personal friend and great admirer of Patrick Cardinal Hayes. After the Cardinal’s death, Mr. Thorne donated the home and 68 acres of land to the Archdiocese of New York in memory of Cardinal Hayes, with the stipulation that it be used for a charitable purpose. Although the original structure has been remodeled several times and enlarged through the addition of wings, the unique character of the home has been preserved.
Cardinal Hayes Home opened its doors in June 1941 as a convalescent home serving children discharged from hospitals who could not be provided with adequate care in their own homes. By 1960, the need for convalescent care had decreased substantially, and programs were restructured to provide services for neglected and dependent children. Throughout these years, there were always some young people at Cardinal Hayes who were physically and mentally disabled.
By the late 1970s, the critical need for residential programs for developmentally disabled children was apparent, and Cardinal Hayes Home began the gradual transition to serving these young people. In the 1980s, several Community Intermediate Care Facilities (ICFs) were opened in Dutchess County, and the main residence in Millbrook was enlarged and extensively renovated. Six one-story homes were built on the Millbrook campus in recent years; these homes are specifically designed to meet the needs of young people who are severely disabled. Our newest program, Individual Residential Alternative (IRA) offers 3 separate apartments (2 bed, 3 bed and 4 bed) providing supervised living for 9 young adults with complex care needs.
In 1984, Cardinal Hayes School for Special Children was established, providing continuity of programming for the children at CHH and also serving special needs children residing in the area. The school is situated on several wooded acres at the eastern end of the Village of Millbrook in a building designed to serve the educational needs of students who are handicapped.
In all its programs, Cardinal Hayes Home upholds the philosophy so lovingly established by the Sisters in 1941: “Aware of God’s deep compassion for the sick and suffering, we use our talents, confident that He is with us and no effort will be lost. We bring strength to each other by our mutual support and affirmation.”