Traditionally, orphanages only housed the children of deceased parents. In many cases, a relative would assume the responsibility of caring for a child who lost their parents. In situations in which a child had no known relatives or no family member offered to care for the child, the child would become a ward of the State and be placed in an orphanage.
As time progressed, orphanages began to house not only children of deceased parents, but also children whose parents could not to care for them. In many instances, parents did not have the financial ability to provide a child with food, shelter, or clothing, and therefore, the parent would surrender the child to an orphanage.
An orphanage would be responsible for providing children with all of the basic and daily necessities, as well as an education. Some orphanages choose to educate children inside the orphanage, while other institutions require that the children be educated in the States' school districts.
An orphanage provides a child with a community in which they can interact with other children who are struggling with similar experiences. Most of the orphanages that continue to remain in the United States are faith-based institutions.