The book is rooted in the stories of more than 200,000 impoverished and abandoned children who traveled to the Midwest from the East Coast via train between 1854 and 1929. Once at their destinations, they were shuffled into forced labor in farming communities and abusive situations. It illustrates the historical context that’s led to today’s social, moral and legal crisis created by large numbers of unaccompanied migrant children arriving at America’s borders.
Providing a parallel theme on contemporary foster care, Orphan Train also serves as the inspiration for more than 100 art installations, performances, panel discussions and other events scheduled across Philadelphia through March 19.
“This timely book selection provided an opportunity to examine the plight of children abandoned at our borders within a historical context,” said Debra Schilling Wolfe, executive director of the Field Center. “By bringing together the nation’s top experts on social policy, child-welfare services and children’s rights, we offer a critical look at how our nation cares for vulnerable children.”
The community symposium will feature a panel of the nation’s leading experts on child welfare, including: