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Illinois Soldiers' and Sailors' Children's School - RG 255 | Illinois State Archives

Name: Illinois Soldiers' and Sailors' Children's School - RG 255
Variant Name: Illinois Soldiers' Orphans' Home

Historical Note:

The Illinois Soldiers' Orphans' Home at Normal originally was established in 1865 to provide care and education for indigent children of Civil War veterans (L. 1865, p. 76). In the succeeding years indigent children of veterans of all wars became eligible for admission. Temporary facilities were established at locations in Bloomington in 1867 and in Springfield in 1868. The home's permanent quarters in Normal opened in June 1869. A board of trustees operated the home and acted as legal guardian for the children. The home also was subject to inspection by the Board of State Commissioners of Public Charities, created in 1869 to inspect and report upon the conditions in all state charitable institutions (L. 1869, p. 63). The Board of Administration succeeded to these duties and retained executive and administrative control over the home until the creation of the Department of Public Welfare in 1917 (L. 1917, p. 2).

While under the jurisdiction of the Department of Public Welfare the home's name was changed to the Illinois Soldiers' and Sailors' Children's School in 1931 (L. 1931, p. 217). The department also was authorized to place veterans' indigent children in foster homes or in other child-care facilities. This responsibility was handled by Division of Child Welfare staff members working at the school. For 1907-1924 dependent orphans who were not children of veterans also were admitted to the home when space was available.

In 1961 the Department of Mental Health assumed many of the duties of the Department of Public Welfare including administration of the school (L. 1961, p. 2666). This responsibility was transferred in 1963 to the newly created Department of Children and Family Services (L. 1963, p. 1061).

Access to some of these records is restricted according to the provisions of P.A. 79-453 and the State Records Act of 1957 as amended.

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