The Child Care Dilemma of Families in Crisis
This chapter analyzes how poor families' own demands helped shape the institutional landscape of child welfare in turn-of-the century Pittsburgh, as they made choices based on religious preferences as well as location and reputation. Significantly, racial prejudice limited African American families' choices and led the black community to found its own child care institutions in this period. A demographic analysis of these families who chose orphanage care for their children reveals the often multiple, overlapping crises they faced—from the loss of a spouse to disrupted support networks and inadequate housing. As parents attempted to combine wage labor and child care responsibilities, they used orphanages as a strategy for family survival.
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