The Children’s Aid Society have several of them two that are said to be -particularly cute youngsters around sixteen months old. They are now in a local institution. In fact at different orphanages and other institutions they now have twelve or thirteen children, ranging in ages from sixteen months to fourteen years, whom they want to find good homes for.
The orphanages in Ottawa are overcrowded. The ladies and gentlemen who meet each week to deal with the problem of looking after the neglected and dependent children, at their meeting at the city hall yesterday were told of several cases where there was urgent need of good foster homes for their wards.
There were reports regarding children sent to various local hospitals; and at least two cases where it has been necessary yo keep them at the Good Shepherds Convent for a short time and regarding some of the children now at the Dentention Home.
Many orphanages were highly regimented, especially early in the century. Children marched to meals, which they ate in silence. They wore uniforms and sometimes had their heads shaved. Corporal punishment was common, with inmates routinely beaten across the hands with leather straps. The diet tended to be poor.
Orphanages often were dangerous. The mortality rate was not much better than on the streets. Older, bigger, tougher kids preyed mercilessly on younger, smaller inmates. Says Crenson, “As hard as it was to leave kids at the mercy of some adults, it was much worse to leave them at the mercy of 100 kids. Living in an orphanage meant either being a predator or a victim.” He found accounts of older boys accosting younger ones. There were institutions that were well-run by compassionate people, but in general an inmate’s life was a tough one.