The ‘family system’, 1830–50
in The Protestant Orphan Society and its social significance in Ireland, 1828–1940
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This chapter examines the development of the Protestant Orphan Society in Dublin (DPOS) ethos, governing rules and policies with respect to eligibility, benefits for widows, children's health, and apprenticeship. This examination of the DPOS is to determine the extent to which the system could be deemed child and family oriented. References are made to the policies of early local PO Societies such as Limerick and Tipperary. The DPOS served respectable Protestant families and imposed rigid application procedures to deter 'undeserving' applicants. The DPOS provided children with long or short-term care as required by widows who could reclaim their children when they so wished. This reclamation was allowed as long as the committee was satisfied that it was in the children's best interests. The DPOS recommended that infants remain with their mothers, where possible, until they had finished teething as convulsions during dentition were a common cause of infant mortality.

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