History

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From 1854 to 1929 an estimated 250,000 orphaned, abandoned, and homeless children were placed throughout the United States and Canada during the Orphan Train Movement.

When the orphan train movement began, it was estimated that 30,000 abandoned children were living on the streets of New York City.

Charles Loring Brace founded the Children’s Aid Society in order to help these children.

The aid institutions developed a program that placed homeless children into homes throughout the country. The children were transported to their new homes on trains which were eventually labeled “orphan trains.”

This period of mass relocation of children in the United States is widely recognized as the beginning of documented foster care in America.

The Need for the Orphan Trains

The Children’s Aid Society

The New York Foundling Hospital

Newspaper Articles and Documents

 

The Orphan Train Experience

Opposition to the Orphan Trains

The End of an Era – Why the Orphan Trains Stopped

Orphan Train Rider Stories

FAQs

 

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