The Public Interest

Orphanages: the real story

Richard B. McKenzie

Spring 1996

WHEN the word “orphanage” is used, Americans typically cringe, imagining that the children who grew up in one had the crudest and cruelest of childhoods. Harsh, unrelenting critics of orphanages continue to play on these popular images of orphanages, but few researchers have thought to ask former orphans for their assessments of their childhood experiences. And no one to date has sought to assess the long-term impact of orphanages on the lives and well-being of the children who grew up in them. 

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