Orphan Train

The Orphan Train Experience

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The Orphan Train Movement took place from 1853 to 1929.

The Orphan Train Experience was a movement that sent homeless orphans from the east of the USA to the midwest to go to foster homes.

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Who Rode the Orphan Trains?

The riders of the Orphan Train were abandoned, parentless, and homeless youth from eastern cities.
What Were the Orphan Trains?
The youth who rode the Orphan Trains were all from urban cities like Boston and New York City. On the trains they were all heading to the midwest, the countryside, so they could start over their lives at foster homes.
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Charles Loring Brace founded the Children's Aid Society to help children in urban cities who were homeless, orphans, children to unfit parents, or otherwise abandoned. The program was designed to place homeless children in homes throughout the country.
Despite the movement allowing children to become relocated, the conditions and treatment of the children weren't always optimal.

The train car conditions were harsh and hard to live in, and most adults in society treated homeless youth as "street rats" who just wanted to cause trouble.