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Fostering on the FarmChild Placement in the Rural Midwest$
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Megan Birk

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780252039249

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252039249.001.0001

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“The great drama of childhood”

(p.178) Epilogue
Fostering on the Farm

Megan Birk

University of Illinois Press

This epilogue examines how changes in child welfare policy were affected by the decline of the farm home as a symbol of American prosperity, the appropriate levels of work and education for children, the expense of placement, the problems with supervision, and efforts at family preservation. It explains how the decisions made during the Progressive Era to rationalize, study, centralize, and professionalize institutionalization and placement permanently altered the methods of care for dependent children throughout the country. It suggests that the farm placement system changed in part because the farm itself was in transition, and that foster care was also unsuccessful in ways similar to the practice it was purported to replace. Finally, it considers problems with dependent child care policy that persist until today, in which foster children are trapped in a web of bureaucracy that undermines conscientious foster parents from being able to parent.

Keywords:   child welfare, children, family preservation, foster care, child care policy, foster children, foster parents, farm placement

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