What Were the "Orphan Trains"?
The term "orphan trains" refers to the trains that carried poor urban children to western and midwestern states to be placed with foster parents. The program was started by Charles Loring Brace of the Children's Aid Society, but soon had many imitators. It began around 1850 and ran for nearly eighty years. The number of children "placed out" is estimated to have been over 250,000.