Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia

Holly Caldwell

Deafness and the Deaf

Documentation of the lives of deaf individuals in the Philadelphia region, and elsewhere, is limited. Historic accounts depict desperate individuals roaming the streets or begging. Prior to the advent of public schools for the deaf, only elite deaf individuals received private tutoring. In the early nineteenth century, Philadelphia philanthropists, religious figures, educators, merchants, and policymakers came together and created the city’s first school for the deaf. Their successes inspired other advocates to expand deaf education and services. Though later educators judged some of their efforts misguided, these pioneers demonstrated that the region’s impoverished deaf residents could also become productive citizens.

During the colonial era, only elite deaf children received much education, and it typically took the form of private instruction or tutoring. William Mercer (1765?–1839?), who was congenitally deaf, studied under the distinguished Philadelphia artist Charles Willson Peale (1741–1827) after his father was killed in the Battle of Princeton. Peale and his wife, Rachel (1744–70), welcomed Mercer into their family of ten children from 1783 until 1786. Mercer was one of the first congenitally deaf individuals in the United States to become a distinguished artist.

[caption id="attachment_28183" align="alignright" width="300"] Since 1984, the Pennsylvania School for the Deaf has occupied the Old Germantown Academy. (Library of Congress)[/caption]

The Pennsylvania School for the Deaf in Philadelphia (formerly known as the Pennsylvania Institution for the Deaf and Dumb), the third-oldest school of its kind in the United States, was one of many that emerged in the early nineteenth century following the advent of deaf education in Europe. Public education for the deaf originated in France in the 1760s when Jansenist priest Abbé Charles-Michel de l’Epée (1712–89) created the National Deaf-Mute Institute in Paris, the world’s first public deaf school. His work eventually inspired deaf education programs in other nations, including the Pennsylvania School for the Deaf which began when David Seixas (1788–1864), a Philadelphia merchant and crockery owner, began to educate and provide room and board to a small group of local indigent deaf children.

The First Eleven

Moved by his concern for impoverished children whom he regularly witnessed roaming city streets, Seixas brought eleven poor deaf children into his home, where he fed, clothed, and educated them. Among the first group of children were future artists John Carlin (1813–91) and Albert Newsam (1809–64). Carlin, who became deaf as a young child, later studied portraiture in France under esteemed artist Paul Delaroche (1797–1856). He spent his adult life working as an artist and poet in New York, where he served as an activist for the deaf. Newsam, brought to Philadelphia from Steubenville, Ohio, in 1820 by William P. Davis, who allegedly convinced Newsam’s guardian to allow him to take the child to Philadelphia and intended to exploit the young boy’s artistic talent for his own gain, entered the school at age eleven after local Episcopal Bishop William White (1784­–1836) found him on the streets and took him to Seixas’s home. There he received an education and developed his artistic talent. Newsam apprenticed with the local engraving firm of Cephas G. Childs (1793–1871) and eventually became a principal artist at the firm of Peter S. Duval (1805?–86).    

Bishop White became intrigued by Seixas’s dedication to these poor deaf children and called for members of the American Philosophical Society to create a more permanent establishment. In May 1820, members of the society petitioned the Pennsylvania state legislature to officially recognize Seixas’s school, which it did in 1821. With the support of growing community interest and both philanthropic and state-sponsored funding, the institute officially opened at the corner of Eleventh and Market Streets in Philadelphia in the autumn of 1820 with Seixas as the institute’s first principal. Soon nearby states, including New Jersey, Maryland, and Delaware, began sending their indigent deaf children there. Seixas was later dismissed from his post for alleged sexual misconduct with several female students. The Pennsylvania School for the Deaf eventually appointed Abraham B. Hutton (1798–1870) principal in 1830, and he remained in that position until his death.

Pedagogical shifts that focused on oralism, or training in the reading of lips, affected Philadelphia’s deaf community. Early efforts to instruct the deaf typically relied on the manual method, or sign language. In the 1870s, deaf education experienced a significant transformation as more programs began adopting the oral method. Educators throughout Europe and North America embraced oralism as the progressive approach to “normalize” the deaf and incorporate them into mainstream society.

In the late nineteenth century, sisters Emma (1846–93) and Mary Garrett (1854–1915) expanded services for the deaf in the region. Emma Garrett attended the program for teachers of the deaf at Boston University run by Alexander Graham Bell (1847–1922), whose curriculum focused primarily on the oral method and on how to teach the deaf how to communicate and “behave” when interacting with the hearing community. After completing her education, Emma became a teacher at the Pennsylvania School for the Deaf and later served as principal of the Pennsylvania Oral School for Deaf-Mutes in Scranton. Like many deaf-education professionals of this period, she visited several countries to observe their teaching methods. Her observations of oralist methods, coupled with the widespread assumption that children (and especially deaf children) are incredibly imitative, led the sisters to establish an early intervention program in 1892.

The Bala Home

The Garretts established the Pennsylvania Home for the Training in Speech of Deaf Children Before They Are of School Age (also known as the Bala Home) at Belmont and Monument Avenues in Philadelphia. The school adopted a strict interventionist method that introduced the oral method at an early age. Emma served as superintendent of the institute until her death in 1893, when Mary assumed the post. Mary became a pioneer in the oral communication method as well as an advocate for the education of young women. She trained other notable educators of the deaf, including Margaret S. Sterck (1892–1984), who established the Delaware School for the Deaf in 1929, which remained active until 1945, when state regulations required that deaf children be taught in public schools.   

After visiting oralist schools in other states, educators at the Pennsylvania School for the Deaf also shifted their program to include more training in the oral method. This decision reflected a broader international push for the method that had been adopted years earlier at the Milan Congress of 1880, where hearing delegates determined that sign language was a cumbersome form of communication and that the deaf should be taught to communicate in a “normal” way. In the decades following the Milan Congress, nineteenth-century pioneer in science Alexander Graham Bell (1847–1922) advocated that schools throughout the United States and Europe adopt oralism, viewed as the progressive approach to “normalize” the deaf and incorporate them into mainstream society. The Pennsylvania School for the Deaf became one of the largest schools for the deaf in the United States. The widespread teaching of oralism later sparked controversy because it eventually led to the near elimination of sign language and disenfranchisement of the deaf community.

[caption id="attachment_28186" align="alignright" width="233"] Patrick Ryan (1831–1911) served as the Archbishop of Philadelphia from 1884 to 1911 and furthered the education of the hearing impaired in Philadelphia. Concerned with the plight of his deaf parishioners, Ryan worked to establish formal education for the deaf children of the city. (Archbishop Ryan High School)[/caption]

New advocacy groups such as the Pennsylvania Society for the Advancement of the Deaf, created in Philadelphia in 1881, also pushed to incorporate deaf individuals into society and maximize their potential. It was joined in the early twentieth century by such organizations as the Philadelphia League for the Hard of Hearing and the Speech-Reading Club of Philadelphia. Religious leaders contributed to helping local deaf populations as well. Concerned for his deaf parishioners, Archbishop Patrick Ryan (1831–1911) envisioned an institute that would serve the needs of deaf Catholics. While not realized until the year after his death, the Archbishop Ryan Memorial Institute for the Deaf, established first on Vine Street and then later moved to Thirty-Fifth and Spring Garden Streets and eventually to Delaware County, was named in his honor.

Sign Language Resurges

After nearly a century during which the oral method dominated, the study of sign language resurged in the late 1960s. After passage of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act in the 1970s, deaf schools nationwide employed a variety of educational methods. These approaches ranged from bicultural/bilingual education, in which American Sign Language is taught as a first language and written (or spoken) English is taught as a second language, to auditory-oral and auditory-verbal education. In the mid-1980s, Philadelphia schools adopted the more recent “mainstreaming” or inclusion model, in which deaf children attended public school for part of the school day while also receiving individualized deaf instruction. Programs such as the Clarke Schools for Hearing and Speech (located in Philadelphia and Bryn Mawr) later incorporated the “mainstreaming” model into their day school program. Critics argued that although this model provided inclusion and daily interaction with hearing individuals, deaf children found themselves isolated from other deaf individuals and received limited individualized support for special education needs.

Philadelphia played a significant role in the nation’s deaf education movement. The humanitarian project of a concerned citizen led to the creation of one of the nation’s largest and longstanding educational institutions for the deaf. In the early twenty-first century, the Pennsylvania School for the Deaf continued to serve deaf and hard-of-hearing children by offering a wide array of programs that served American Sign Language and English-language learning, as well as supported services and programming for students with cochlear implants. In 2013, St. Joseph’s University instituted a certification program to train teachers of the deaf and hard-of-hearing in 2013. Despite the strides in deaf education, however, mainstreaming programs remained the subject of debate over whether deafness should be categorized as a disability or as a condition to be “normalized.”

Holly Caldwell received her Ph.D. in history from the University of Delaware, where she wrote her dissertation on the medicalization of deafness and deaf education reform at Mexico’s Escuela Nacional de Sordomudos (National School for Deaf-Mutes). She is an Adjunct Assistant Professor of History at Chestnut Hill College and has also taught at Susquehanna University. (Information current at date of publication.)

Orphanages and Orphans

Philadelphia’s earliest orphanages grew out of social projects intended to help impoverished families. As early the first decades of the eighteenth century, city officials created organizations such as the Overseers of the Poor (later the Guardians of the Poor) to provide relief to those, such as the elderly, widows with children, and orphans, who faced poverty through no fault of their own. By the beginning of the nineteenth century, private groups established orphanages to care for children whose parents could not support them because of poverty or death. By the late twentieth century, group homes and foster care largely replaced orphanages as the primary means of caring for such children.

[caption id="attachment_28153" align="alignright" width="300"]A photo from 1914 of the St. Joseph's Orphan Asylum in Philadelphia. St. Joseph’s Orphan Asylum, originally at Seventh and Spruce Streets in Philadelphia, was established in 1797 after a yellow fever epidemic swept the city in 1793. The institution operated until 1984. (Historical Society of Pennsylvania)[/caption]

Prior to the rise of orphanages, orphans often roamed the streets, worked as apprentices through indenture, or faced confinement to almshouses, jails, or insane asylums (State Hospitals). Although many children were orphaned because both parents had died, in other cases orphans still had one or both parents, but due to poverty, illness, widowhood, or other hardship, their parents were unable or unwilling to care for them. Institutions sometimes took in children on the guarantee that a parent would contribute financially to care for their child. Some orphans were indentured out by their extended family, institutions also indentured orphan children. In exchange for labor, these arrangements provided “bound” orphans with gender-specific training, such as agriculture and trades for boys and housewifery for girls. Though rather harsh in nature, these indenture agreements persisted into the early twentieth century.

At the end of the eighteenth century, both war and disease contributed to child homelessness. Local Catholic and Jewish women responded by becoming involved in charitable work. The Sisters of St. Joseph founded St. Joseph’s Orphan Asylum (1797–1984) at Seventh and Spruce Streets following Philadelphia’s deadly yellow fever epidemic of 1793. In 1801, Rebecca Gratz (1781–1869), along with a cohort of women volunteers, established the nonsectarian Female Association for the Relief of Women and Children in Reduced Circumstances to address the needs of “honest and industrious” families left destitute through no fault of their own; it operated a soup kitchen as well as a home for widows and orphans. Orphanages were largely directed by women, a trend that persisted until the late nineteenth century, when social work became more professionalized.

Orphan Society of Philadelphia

In spite of such efforts, abandoned children were a serious social problem by the early nineteenth century. Disease, immigration, and growing urbanization continued to put a strain on the city’s limited resources. In 1814, a group of Philadelphia women, including Sarah Ralston (1766–1820), Julia Rush (1759–1848), and Rebecca Gratz, founded the Orphan Society of Philadelphia (1814–1965), the region’s first nonsectarian (though Presbyterian-influenced) orphanage, to provide the city’s poor, white, fatherless children of married parents the support and moral education that would eventually render them valuable members of society. Philadelphia was one of the few cities in the United States prior to 1855 that also established orphanages for what were categorized as “special classes” of children. Since white orphanages barred black children, they were housed with adults at local almshouses. To address this concern, Quaker women established the Association for the Care of Colored Orphans, also known simply as “The Shelter,” in 1822, at Forty-Fourth Street and Haverford Road. The Shelter cared for both boys and girls and offered a homelike environment. New Jersey chartered the West Jersey Orphanage in 1874 to care for “destitute colored children,” which was led by Quakers John Cooper (1814–1894) and his wife, Mary. Located at Oak and Chestnut Streets in Camden, it remained operational until the 1920s, at which point the children were moved to the Camden Home for Friendless Children (1865–1979) at the corner of Fifth and Plum (later Arch) Streets.

[caption id="attachment_28155" align="alignright" width="177"]An engraving of Stephen Girard. Stephen Girard, born in Bourdeax, France, moved to Philadelphia and became a successful banker. Upon his death, he left his fortune to charitable institutions in Philadelphia, including funds to establish Girard College. (Historical Society of Pennsylvania)[/caption]

By the mid-nineteenth century, reformers viewed orphanages as a progressive alternative to housing children with adults in almshouses, where, they feared, they would be exposed to criminals and social deviants. Girard College, opened in 1848 for “poor white male orphans,” embraced the model of providing young boys instruction in the trades and mechanical training. The school was founded at the direction of Stephen Girard (1750–1831), who left a $2 million endowment in his will to establish the school, situated north of Poplar Street and Ridge Avenue, a location that Girard believed would provide solace from city life and allow boys to escape poverty by obtaining an education that would otherwise have been unavailable to them. Eventually, Pennsylvania (1883) and New Jersey (1899) passed legislation prohibiting the institutionalization of children in asylums designated for adults. Such views led to the creation of several privately funded orphanages, most of which highlighted the need for education, moral reform, and skills training.

Faith-based groups also founded orphanages in the mid-nineteenth century. Rebecca Gratz, who served for forty years as secretary of the Orphan Society of Philadelphia, established one of the nation’s first orphanages specifically for Jewish children. Gratz created the Hebrew Sunday School program in 1838. By the end of the nineteenth century, this program opened branches across Philadelphia and served over four thousand students. Out of fear that orphaned Jewish children would be reared in non-Jewish asylums and be estranged from the Jewish community, she founded the Jewish Foster Home Society (later the Jewish Foster Home and Orphan Asylum of Philadelphia), located at North Eleventh and Brown Streets, in 1855. Catholics also operated institutions to provide care for abandoned children. The Sisters of Notre Dame ran St. Vincent’s Orphan Asylum of Tacony, also established in 1855, to serve girls identified as dependent or delinquent.

[caption id="attachment_28150" align="alignright" width="300"]A black and white photo of a building at 205 Thirty-Fourth Street in Philadelphia. The Foulke and Long Institute for Orphan Girls was originally established for orphaned daughters of soldiers, firemen, and other civil servants. The building that housed the dormitory, refectory, and kitchens at 205 Thirty-Fourth Street in Philadelphia is now part of the University of Pennsylvania. (Library of Congress)[/caption]

By the late nineteenth century, orphanages adopted a rehabilitative model, in keeping with beliefs that philanthropy and charity ran counter to progressive ideals of self-sufficiency and self-reliance. New institutions, commonly referred to as industrial schools, emphasized practical skills. Industrial schools did not aim to elevate the social standing of orphans, but rather, to prepare them for a life of genteel poverty. The Foulke and Long Institute for Orphan Girls, originally established at Twelfth and Arch Streets in Philadelphia in 1882 and funded by the endowment of Eleanor Parker Foulke Long (1792–1882) and her husband, Burgess B. Long (1796–1873), served daughters of soldiers from the Civil War, as well as daughters of firemen and other public servants who had “sacrificed for the public benefit,” in accordance with instructions Long had left for the disposition of her estate. Pennsylvania’s first industrial school for girls, the institute provided residence in a Christian setting as well as a traditional education coupled with training in the industrial, social, and cultural arts. In 1888, it merged with the Industrial Home for the Training of Girls in the Arts of Housewifery and Sewing. Other privately funded and run facilities provided practical education for orphaned and abandoned boys, such as St. Francis de Sales Industrial School (1888), in Eddington, Pennsylvania; St. Joseph’s House for Homeless Industrious Boys (1888), in North Philadelphia; St. Joseph’s Industrial School (1896), in Clayton, Delaware; and the Delaware Orphans’ Home and Industrial School (1899), in Wilmington.

In 1909, the White House Conference on Children embraced the notion that home life was the “highest and finest product of civilization” and that, if possible, children should be placed in foster homes rather than institutions or indentured arrangements. In the early 1900s, social agencies began to pay and supervise foster parents. Home inspections became mandatory, and increasing professionalization in the field of social work called for inspectors to maintain records and evaluate the living situations of individual children. While encouraging reunification of children with their families whenever possible, the foster care system paved the way for additional related child welfare reforms, such as adoption, nutrition and vocational training, and child labor laws. 

Orphanage Restructuring

[caption id="attachment_28154" align="alignright" width="300"]An image of St. Vincent's Orphan's Home on the Delaware River in Tacony, Pennsylvania. St. Vincent’s Orphans Home in Tacony was opened in 1855 by the Sisters of Notre Dame to shelter orphan girls. (Library Company of Philadelphia)[/caption]

Findings presented at the 1909 conference also led to significant restructuring of orphanages. Organizations that previously functioned independently joined under a single umbrella. For example, the Catholic Children’s Bureau, created in 1919, attempted to centralize child welfare efforts. In addition, the increasing professionalization of the social work coupled with increased regulation of childcare institutions and support of the foster care system contributed to the decline of the orphanage.

Such reforms would eventually lead to more comprehensive reforms to protect children from abuse or neglect in the latter half of the twentieth century. In the 1930s, during the Great Depression, the numbers of children needing assistance continued to rise as the prevalence of orphanages declined with the advent of new social programs. The Social Security Act of 1935 represented one federal government attempt to provide financial assistance to families in need. By the end of the Second World War, most orphanages had closed or were replaced by smaller institutions that tried to promote group home environments. Federal legislation concerning child abuse in the 1970s drew national attention to the need for child protection. The Adoption Assistance and Child Welfare Act of 1980 was created to serve children in their own homes, prevent external placement, and facilitate the reunification of families.

[caption id="attachment_28149" align="alignright" width="300"]An aerial photograh of the Carson College for Orphan Girls from 1922. This aerial photo of Carson College for Orphan Girls from 1922 shows the college and nearby Flourtown, Pennsylvania. In the early twenty-first century the school was operating as Carson Valley Children’s Aid. (Library Company of Philadelphia)[/caption]

Despite such reform, the late 1980s and 1990s experienced increases in child neglect and foster placements. Cuts in public funding led to a decrease in child welfare resources. Church-based organizations such as Catholic Social Services (previously the Catholic Children’s Bureau) stepped in and expanded outreach beyond foster care and adoption to include programs for immigrants, the elderly and medically fragile, and those in need of transitional housing. Catholic Social Services became one of the largest nonprofit providers of social services in Southeastern Pennsylvania, with centers such as Casa del Carmen (originally located at Seventh and Jefferson Streets), created in 1954, which supported the transitional needs of Puerto Rican immigrants. Institutes such as the Foulke and Long Institute and the Carson Valley School broadened their scope. The Foulke and Long Institute merged in 1960 with the Youth Study Center of Philadelphia, an organization that began in 1909 as the House of Detention. Its primary role was to provide education and medical care to abused and neglected children, as well as to those who had been accused of minor delinquency infractions. The Carson Valley School merged with the Children’s Aid Society in 2008 and shifted to serving families in need of drug and alcohol outpatient services and crisis counseling.

By the twenty-first century, community group homes for families in need of transitional housing, family preservation programs, and services such as those offered by the Department of Human Services, delivered in client homes, had largely replace orphanages. Charitable organizations that had formerly provided care for orphans had broadened their agendas to provide services to those suffering from mental illness and homelessness, as well as to those in recovery from drug and alcohol addiction.

Holly Caldwell received her Ph.D. in history from the University of Delaware, where she wrote her dissertation on the medicalization of deafness and deaf education reform at Mexico’s Escuela Nacional de Sordomudos (National School for Deaf-Mutes). She is an adjunct assistant professor of history at Chestnut Hill College and has also taught at Susquehanna University.

Children’s Aid Society of Pennsylvania

The Children’s Aid Society of Pennsylvania was founded in 1882 by a group of predominantly women volunteers to address social issues plaguing the city of Philadelphia, such as drunkenness, child homelessness, and rampant crime. Child welfare advocate Helen W. Hinckley led the charge, assisted by Cornelia Hancock (1840–1928), who had volunteered as a nurse in the Union army. The society’s primary goal was to support families, especially single or deserted mothers. It encouraged self-reliance by urging parents to contribute to their children’s expenses and by temporarily alleviating the burden of childcare so that they could find work. On occasion, the agency cared for abandoned, delinquent, or orphaned children. The Children’s Aid Society of Pennsylvania drew on the model of the New York Children’s Aid Society, created by Charles Loring Brace (1826–90) in 1853 to address similar concerns.

The nineteenth century experienced a significant increase in urbanization, industrialization, and immigration. The population of Philadelphia tripled between the years 1790 and 1830, and this growth coincided with epidemics of cholera, yellow fever, and typhoid fever, which contributed to an abundance of children who were either orphaned or abandoned. As a result of such upheaval or parental neglect, children often roamed the streets, worked as apprentices through indenture, or faced confinement to almshouses, jails, or insane asylums. The combination of crime and abandoned street children presented serious issues that social welfare advocates such as Hinckley, who had previously served as secretary at the Pennsylvania Homeopathic Hospital for Children, could not ignore. In 1883, she successfully pushed for legislation that prohibited the institutionalization of children in asylums designated primarily for adults. In 1884, the Children’s Aid Society reported that it had cared for 681 children annually, a number that grew steadily over the next fifty years.

The Philadelphia-based organization served children throughout the state until 1889, when the Children’s Aid Society of Western Pennsylvania was organized. Since the Children’s Aid Society could not accommodate all children in the region who were in need of homes and services, volunteer committees created local county branches to respond to this need. Although initially created to address an overflow from the central office, county offices became essential to operations by the 1890s. Before the creation of a centralized bureau in 1921, these local agencies reported between half and two-thirds of the cases to the central office, many of whom were children who had been contracted as indentured workers. By the mid-1930s the Children’s Aid Society reported that it provided care and services for 3,030 children annually from both Philadelphia and its neighboring counties.

[caption id="attachment_27330" align="alignright" width="228"] Dr. Jessie Taft, was a prominent progressive era reformer who exerted a profound influence on social work in its formative years. This portrait of Taft was taken c. 1908. (Wikimedia Commons)[/caption]

The Children’s Aid Society was a pioneer in the professionalization of the field of social work during a period when foundations were established to tackle the root causes of poverty. In the first decade of the twentieth century, the field of social work evolved to include more scientific-based understandings of poverty and child development. In response to these developments, in 1908 the Children’s Aid Society began offering career training to its employees, which eventually grew into the University of Pennsylvania School of Social Work (later the School of Social Policy and Practice). The society itself also became more professional, with several prominent figures serving in managerial capacities. Edwin D. Solenberger (1876–1964), a social service administrator, served as general secretary from 1907 until 1943. John Prentice Murphy (1881–1936), a pioneer in the literature on the models of intervention and outcome assessment, joined the society in 1908. In the 1920s, Dr. Jessie Taft (1882–1960), an expert in the burgeoning field of mental hygiene, became the director of the Child Study Department, which provided mental examinations to incoming children. These advancements contributed to the agency’s mission by providing holistic care and support to children and their families.

[caption id="attachment_27328" align="alignright" width="300"]Small children in white uniforms play outside as nurses stand watching Children in white uniforms play as nurses watch in this undated photo outside the Philadelphia Home for Infants. (Historical Society of Pennsylvania)[/caption]

Over the years, several local child welfare agencies merged with the Children’s Aid Society. The Union Temporary Home (1856), an institution that was created specifically for poor white children, officially closed in 1887 due to financial constraints. The Philadelphia Home for Infants (1873), created for children under the age of three, also began struggling financially in the early twentieth century and eventually merged with the Children’s Bureau in 1942. The Children’s Bureau (1907) functioned as a shelter and centralized information bureau to funnel information to the more than sixty agencies that received needy children. During World War II, both the Children’s Bureau and the Children’s Aid Society helped place juvenile refugees from Europe into homes in the Philadelphia area. They merged into one organization in 1944.

From the 1950s through the late 1970s, child welfare services were typically self-contained units that focused on in-home evaluations. From the 1970s onward, local government agencies began operating under federal legislation. Similar in its mission to the Children’s Aid Society, the Adoption Assistance and Child Welfare Act of 1980 aimed to serve children in their own homes, prevent external placement, and facilitate the reunification of families. Despite such reform, the late 1980s and 1990s experienced increases in child neglect and foster placements. In Philadelphia, agencies such as the Philadelphia Task Force for Children at Risk, the Support and Community Outreach Program, and PhillyKids Connection addressed these concerns.

Dedicated to improving and protecting the lives of children, the Children’s Aid Society of Pennsylvania was a pioneer in child welfare and advocacy. In 2008, it merged with the Philadelphia Society for Services to Children and formed Turning Points for Children, an organization dedicated to reducing child abuse and improving the lives of over nine thousand children and their caregivers. Like its predecessor, Turning Points for Children focused on providing holistic family-center programs in the interest of building community relations in the region.

Holly Caldwell received her Ph.D. in history from the University of Delaware, where she wrote her dissertation on the medicalization of deafness and deaf education reform at Mexico’s Escuela Nacional de Sordomudos (National School for Deaf-Mutes). She is an Adjunct Assistant Professor of History at Chestnut Hill College and has also taught at Susquehanna University.

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