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Rhode Island. State home and school for children (1884-1979)



  • Existence: 1884-1979

Selected dates in child welfare in Rhode Island: Focus on State Home and School
  • 1834 Children's Friend Society established
  • 1835 Founding of Providence Shelter for Colored Children
  • 1850 Providence Reform School established; 2nd institution of this kind in the U.S.
  • 1850 RI Catholic Orphan Asylum established
  • 1851 Hazard report on condition of Poor and Insane in Rhode Island
  • 1875 Michigan establishes State School for dependent and neglected children
  • 1879 St. Mary's Home established
  • 1882 RI Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children created
  • 1876 Call from Women's Board of Visitors to establish Industrial School for Boys and Girls, moving them from Reform School and State Poor Farm
  • 1880 Elizabeth Buffum Chase and Board of Visitors call for establishment of facility for children based on Michigan model and away from State facilities at Howard
  • 1884 Law establishes State Home and School at Chapin estate, one of six such institutions in the U.S.
  • 1885 State Home and School begins accepting residents April 25th
  • 1888 State Almshouse established at Howard Center
  • 1891 St. Vincent de Paul Infant Asylum founded
  • 1905 Founding of St. Vincent's de Paul Home
  • 1907 School for Feeble-Minded established in Exeter
  • 1916 Report by Social Welfare League urges more funding and greater attention to homes used in placing-out
  • 1918 Population reaches historical high of 412 in February; capacity of 218
  • 1938 State Home 30% over capacity
  • 1938 Department of Social Welfare, Child Welfare Division recommends closing of State Home and School replaced by small receiving and study unit
  • 1938 Hurricane destroys farm buildings, downs trees, damages roofs
  • 1941 Stollerman report critiques haphazard and inappropriate placement of children at State Home, Sockanosett, Oaklawn, and Exeter School
  • 1943 Population at record low
  • 1944 War adding to problems; population near record high
  • 1947 Plan for SH&S modernization and expansion opposed by Governor Pastore
  • 1947 Experts recommend closing State Home & School
  • 1948 State Home and School renamed O'Rourke Children's Center
  • 1953-1961 New cottages and dormitories constructed
  • 1957 To accommodate construction of road to the Rhode Island College of Education, graves of children moved to Grace Church Cemetery
  • 1970 Swimming pool constructed with funds raised by Women's Auxiliary
  • 1960s New "modern" facilities constructed
  • 1975 Residents ask for fencing around Center, more security
  • 1976 Report calls for closing of Center
  • 1977 Legislature calls for Center closing
  • 1977 Board OK's razing Cottage D as fire hazard
  • 1979 Panel recommends closing of Center
  • 1979 Children angry at closing, smash windows
  • 1979 Home closes in May 1979
  • 1980 Department for Children, Youth and Families established

  • Source: The State Home and School Project

Found in 2 Collections and/or Records:

State Home and School annual reports

 Series — Multiple Containers
Identifier: 1636-939-1636-1007-1636-1015

State Home and School annual reports, 1925-1926

 Sub-Series — Box: State House and School annual reports 1925-1926 (C#1049)