Tradition versus change, 1898–1940
in The Protestant Orphan Society and its social significance in Ireland, 1828–1940
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This chapter discusses the marked shift in Dublin Protestant Orphan Societies (DPOS) policies, its changing role, and the parallels between PO Societies and the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC). Through case history analysis, the chapter examines the ways in which bereaved families, including Irish playwright Sean O'Casey's sister, were assisted by the Society in the twentieth century and identifies the benefits of its policy changes for widows and children. The chapter also analyses the children's transition from dependence to independent adulthood, evidence which serves as a barometer of the Society's success in the twentieth century. The DPOS and local PO Societies regularly refused applications due to insufficient funds. As the DPOS, and local PO Societies, increasingly left children with their mothers rather than place them with nurses in the country, widows became directly responsible for their children's health and medical care.


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