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The Orphan Trains are a little known chapter in American history. From the late 1800s to the early 1900s, railroad cars transported thousands of homeless children and orphans to a better life with families eager to adopt them. This "placing out" program, as it was then called, can be viewed in different ways: as a blessing to those unfortunate children in need of a new and better life, or an injustice to children of immigrants whose families were torn apart by unfair circumstances. You will start on a journey into the world of the late 1800s, following the route as detailed in a historical fiction book. When your tour is completed, you will become time-traveling journalists and report on what you have learned about the Orphan Trains, decide for yourself whether the Orphan Trains really accomplished what they set out to do, and answer the question: "What should be done about homelessness for children today?"
Anne D. Brusca, Library Media Specialist
Denton Avenue School, Herricks U.F.S.D.
Created: April 2009
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