Greek: orphanos, without parents

Children deprived by death of their parents. Their rearing will generally be undertaken by relatives, but among the poor the responsibility may fall upon public or private agencies. Unless the children are so defective as to be beyond the management of a private family, the practise of today is to “place” them, that is, to find for them a foster home in which they will be reared in normal family life. Successful placement of children requires a careful study of the child, of the foster parents, of the circumstances of the proposed foster home, so that all will be harmonious. For example, placing a nervous, sensitive child with irritable foster parents is to invite difficulties for both parties. Moreover, after placement, supervision is almost always necessary, both to prevent a helpless child being exploited by unscrupulous foster parents, and to interpret the child to inexperienced elders. The ideal situation is a child placement so agreeable in all respects that the child will become, with or without legal adoption, a full member of the family.