SOMEBODY’S CHILDREN

Abstract

In 1994, Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich threatened to take the children of welfare mothers and put them in orphanages as part of congressional welfare reform. The idea didn't sell well. For one thing, it evoked images of Oliver Twist-Time magazine's cover story the next week was, "The Storm Over Orphanages," as commentators and politicians rushed in to condemn Gingrich as heartless. Liberals were appalled; this seemed to symbolize exactly why they opposed his "Contract with America," with which the orphanage proposal was articulated. For another, it was expensive: analysis by the Child Welfare League of America suggested that while the average cost of keeping a child with her mother on Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) in 1994 was $2,644 a year, with a foster family it would be $4,800 and in residential group care, $36,500. No one on the Republican side of the aisle came to Gingrich's defense. Were Republicans serious about orphanages? "If they were, they have buttoned their lips. This thing has been mercilessly crucified," an unnamed House staffer told Time. "I would not be surprised if they strike the provision from the bill, because it's given us so much grief."
How to Cite
. SOMEBODY’S CHILDREN. Journal of Law and Family Studies, [S.l.], v. 11, n. 2, dec. 2009. Available at: <http://epubs.utah.edu/index.php/jlfs/article/view/210>. Date accessed: 24 nov. 2017.
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Articles