Home Away From Home - Encounter Books

Home Away From Home

The Forgotten History of Orphanages

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Publication Details

Hardcover / 344 pages
ISBN: 1594032459
PUBLISHED: 12/22/2009


Home Away From Home
The Forgotten History of Orphanages

For most people, the word “orphanage” conjures up images of poor little Oliver Twist pleading for more gruel. Many are convinced that the history of orphanages is a social welfare record of total devastation to the lives of the children who grew up in them. Indeed, many of the scholars who contributed to Home Away From Home began their research with the conventional negative view of orphanages. But they arrived at far more balanced assessments of the historical record: while the orphanages studied were not perfect, they were often good solutions to dire conditions for children.

The future of America’s most vulnerable citizens is on the line, says Richard B. McKenzie, the editor of this volume. Today’s government-run child welfare system is detrimental to tens of thousands of children. Foster care, intended as a temporary solution, has turned into permanent but inadequate care for many. While adoption is a solution for some children, others are difficult to place or legally unavailable for permanent placement.

In re-examining the surprising success of orphanages in the past, Home Away From Home highlights the great value of providing a truly stable environment for youngsters, and it explains how orphanages might again be a powerfully beneficial social institution.


About the Author

Richard B. McKenzie is the Walter B. Gerken Professor Emeritus in the Merage School of Business at the University of California, Irvine.  While he is an economist by profession who has written over thirty books mainly on economic policy, he has published extensively on “orphanages” of the past, including Home Away from Home: The Forgotten History of Orphanages.

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