Our Mission

Downey Side is the only national adoption agency exclusively devoted to recruiting families for youth 7 to 17 years old who need permanent families. For many children in the foster care system, adoption is the only safeguard against future homelessness in their young lives.

Downey Side began in Springfield, Massachusetts in 1967 when Fr. Paul Engel, OFM Cap., a Capuchin priest, placed a seventeen year old boy into the home of Margaret Downey.

Thanks to the many devoted parents who chose to make a lifelong commitment to these waiting children, Downey Side has placed over 5,000 youth into permanent adoptive families.


Downey Side’s philosophy is rooted in the conviction that every child has the right to a permanent family.  It is our purpose to work in partnership with the government as a licensed adoption agency to place America’s waiting children who otherwise would remain homeless.  We are dedicated to family life for all children and strongly believe that a healthy permanent relationship is the best prevention against homelessness.

Downey Side has the additional purpose of leading members of each community to become advocates for children in need.