Who Started the Orphan Trains?


Quick Answer

The orphan trains were started by the Children's Aid Society, an organization founded in New York City in 1853 by Reverend Charles Loring Brace. The orphan trains ran from 1854 until 1929 and are recognized as the precursor of the foster care system in the United States.

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Full Answer

The Orphan Train Movement transported over 100,000 orphaned, abandoned or homeless children between the ages of 5 and 18 to be fostered by farm families in 45 states, as well as Canada and Mexico. Other social agencies that placed children on the orphan trains included the New York Juvenile Asylum and the Orphan Asylum Society of the City of New York.

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