foundling hospital

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foundling hospital

foundling hospital, institution for receiving and caring for abandoned children. In Athens and in Rome until the 4th cent., unwanted children were exposed, or left to die, in appointed places. The first modern foundling hospital was established by the archpriest of Milan in 787. Other cities throughout Europe followed this example. One of the best-known of such hospitals was founded in 1739 in London by Thomas Coram. In the United States, the first foundling hospital, St. Vincent's Infant Asylum, was begun in 1856 by Roman Catholic nuns in Baltimore. It was followed shortly by the founding of other infant asylums supported by religious denominations or private philanthropies. In both Great Britain and the United States foundling hospitals have for the most part been replaced by foster care programs under the supervision of state welfare agencies. Other maternal- and child-care programs are financed by municipal agencies or under social security programs.


See M. P. Hall, The Social Services of Modern England (6th ed., rev. 1963).

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References in periodicals archive ?
WHEN WORD GOT OUT to polite society that Jean-Jacques Rousseau had, starting in the late 1740s, placed the infants born to his mistress Therese Levasseur with the Paris Foundling Hospital, the philosophe and inventor of modern childhood supposed he'd better explain himself.
In a typical year, more than two thirds of the infants taken in by the city's Foundling Hospital died from disease of one sort or another.
Like many women in her community, Bagnacavalli decided to contribute to her family's income by nursing an infant from the foundling hospital in nearby Bologna.
In a single institution, be it orphanage, conservatory, convent, or foundling hospital, inmates of higher social status enjoyed markedly more individual attention and preferential treatment.