TIMELINE
OF
LOWELL ORPHANAGES
 
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1851             Massachusetts Legislature passed the first Adoption of Children Act, 
                     directing judges to ensure that adoption decrees were “fit and proper.”

1868             Massachusetts Board of State Charities began paying for children to 
                     board in private family homes. This was the beginning of placing-out, a 
                     movement to care for children in families rather than institutions.

1869            Massachusetts Board of State Charities appointed an agent to visit 
                    children in their homes. 

1873-1820   Ayer Home for Young Women and Children: Pawtucket Street.
 

1874             National Conference of Charities and Corrections established. 

1876             Ayer (Frederick) Mansion, Pawtucket Street built.

1880-1920   Edson (Theodore) Orphanage: Anne and Kirk Streets staffed by St. 
                     Anne’s Episcopal Church.

1885-1912   Lowell Day Nursery: Kirk Street [now Hall Street].

1898             National Conference of Charities and Corrections began looking for 
                     alternatives to traditional orphanages, including cottage homes and foster 
                     care.

1900-1915   Catholic Orphanages: 51 new institutions opened.

1900-1920   Saint Peter’s Orphanage: Stevens Street staffed by Sisters of Charity, 
                     Nazareth.

1900             Saint Mary’s Orphanage: Crosby Street.

1907-2006   Florence Crittenton Rescue League [now Hall Street].

1908-1968   Ayer (Frederick) Mansion, Pawtucket Street purchased by the OMI for 
                     an orphanage. The mission was to provide appropriate care and primary 
                     instruction for children from Franco American families that had lost a 
                     spouse.

1909             Franco American Orphanage: Pawtucket Street staffed by the Sisters of 
                     Charity, Quebec.

1909:            White House Conference on Dependent Children recommended children 
                     should not be removed from their homes, unless. . .

1910             Children’s Home: Moore Street.

1912             Faith Home for Children: Westford Street.

1912             Franco American Orphanage: expanded adding a four story brick wing.

1923             Catholics Orphanages: 558 existing institutions with 81,000 children.

1930s            The Great Depression and WWII prolonged the traditional orphanages 
                     delay the shift to foster care.

1933             All US Orphanages: 140,000 children

1933             All US Foster Care: 102,000 children.

1940s-1850s Post WWII welfare reform resulted in a major shift from traditional 
                      orphanages to foster care.

1960's            Decline in women entering religious orders had a dramatic impact on 
                      Catholic social welfare institutions including traditional orphanages.

1963              Franco American School: Day student program added to the Boarding 
                      student program.

1978              Franco American School: Boarding student program discontinued. 
                      Extended day care before and after school expanded.

1980s-1990s Franco American School: enrollment gradually increased and double 
                      classes in grades K-8 became the norm.

 

 
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