[Skip to Navigation]
June 1995

Orphanages Revisited: Some Historical Perspectives on Dependent, Abandoned, and Orphaned Children in America

Author Affiliations

The University of Michigan Medical School Ann Arbor

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1995;149(6):609-610. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1995.02170190019002

THE NEWLY INSTALLED Speaker of the House of Representatives, Newt Gingrich, was recently taken to task for his nostalgia about a time in American history when needy children could always rely on the local, private orphanage for assistance (Los Angeles Times. November 18, 1994:1). To resolve the expanding crisis of babies having babies (usually in poverty), Mr Gingrich proposed stopping all "government" benefits for teenaged mothers and using the savings for orphanages. So controversial have been Mr Gingrich's musings against the federal government's participation in "charitable" enterprises that even the venerable icon of American popular culture, Dr Seuss's "The Grinch" (no relation to Mr Gingrich), has been enlisted in the cause of protest (Newsweek. December 26, 1994: cover). Regardless of political ideologies, however, there is one positive point to Mr Gingrich's invective: it allows a reconsideration of the historical and contemporary problems of orphaned and needy children and, more broadly,

Add or change institution