Children: Lost & Found

Americans are often accused of being painfully self-conscious about their society and its failings. But Americans are curiously oblivious to some of their society's achievements. It took foreign visitors to point out how remarkable it was that in the U.S. automobile workers drive to work in their own cars. Similarly unnoticed is another achievement of U.S. culture. The orphanage, that bleak institution that has outraged human sensibilities from the time of Oliver Twist to Little Annie Roomy, has all but vanished.

The reasons are manifold, and the process has been gradual, a function of both the U.S.'s long social conscience and...

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