The Orphan Train

The Precarious Beginning of Foster Care

The Orphan Train at a Glance

The Orphan Train started in 1854 and ended in 1929. The trains were for moving children from bad households and off the streets into homes in the midwest. The movement sent about 200,000 children in New York to foster families in the midwest. This was the first event that was close to our foster care system today.

The Man Behind the Concept:

Charles Loring Brace moved to New York in 1848. While studying to become a minister, he taught Latin at boys' schools and volunteered for service projects to help the less fortunate.
Brace wrote multiple books and articles about his ideas and up-and-coming European welfare programs, which he observed first-hand in 1851. He believed that people were shaped during childhood by small, seemingly inconsequential interactions that could only be properly nurtured in family environments.

Because of his writings, Brace was asked by the founding civic leaders of the Children's Aid Foundation to lead the new group. Brace made children's welfare his life's work, because he saw children as the most promising hope for improving the lives of the poor.

A Handful of Train Riders

The Orphan Train moved thousands of children from New York to the midwest. These are just a few of the children's experiences with their new families. Follow the link to read the full story.

Anna Miller

Having rode the Orphan Train as a five-year-old, Anna Miller led a “happy and comfortable" life with the Penningtons.

Charles Frederic

He was 6 when he rode the Orphan train. He only spoke German when he was sent to live with the Lennons. His never felt loved while living with them.

Marguerite Thompson

Her life with her adoptive family, the Larson's, was not a pleasant one. Often, she went without food and was whipped for her mistakes.

Orphan train experience

This is a shot video with the author of Orphan train, Christina Baker Kline talking about what the children on these trains were going through. It is included that that was an important part of american history that often gets over looked.
The Orphan Trains

Children's Aid Society

In 1853, Charles Loring Brase founded the Children's Aid Society in New York. He inteded to give homes to those with unfit parents. The Children's Aid Society differed from orphanages in that Children's Aid focused on transitioning children back into society, rather than just keeping them alive.


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"The Orphan Trains." The Orphan Trains. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Feb. 2016.


"About the Program." PBS. PBS, n.d. Web. 17 Feb. 2016.


"Lost Children: Riders on the Orphan Train." Lost Children: Riders on the Orphan Train. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Feb. 2016.

"The Orphan Trains." YouTube. YouTube, n.d. Web. 17 Feb. 2016.


ASKELAND, LORI, and "Brace, Charles Loring." The Columbia

Encyclopedia, 6th Ed.. 2015. "Brace, Charles Loring (1826-1890).

" HighBeam Research, 01 Jan. 2004. Web. 17 Feb. 2016.


Made By; Kiersten And Jacqueline