Bereaved families and boarded-out children, 1850–98
in The Protestant Orphan Society and its social significance in Ireland, 1828–1940
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This chapter examines the difficult period of bereavement and the effects of such upheaval for children. During this period, the chain of circumstances led widows to seek relief from Protestant Orphan (PO) Societies, which by 1870 had a presence in every county in Ireland. The book assesses the boarding-out environment in which children were placed and considers the Dublin POS as a case study to establish whether the system was as effective in practice as in theory. The DPOS, local superintendents, the nurses with whom the children were placed, and surviving kin were jointly responsible for the maintenance of the orphans' health and the provision of medical care. DPOS orphans were visited unannounced once in summer and once in winter by committee members, and supervised in their local parish by parochial clergymen and their wives, as well as the community at large.

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