Why, first, did orphanages lose favor and de facto disappear after World War II as an acceptable child care system? Second, what factors have led to their return, at least as a respectable topic for discussion and for research? This return is illustrated in the article by Wolff and Fesseha on orphanages in Eritrea in this issue of the Journal. The reasons that orphanages lost favor include socioeconomic and cultural shifts after World War II, but the most important single factor was the various studies of the developmental consequences of mother-infant separation and institutional care, including affective, interpersonal, cognitive, and behavioral impairments. These studies were rooted in the psychoanalytic theories of the 1930s and 1940s associated with the observations of Anna Freud, John Bowlby, and Réné Spitz, emphasizing the importance of the early mother-infant attachment, consistency, establishing basic trust, and identity formation. By extension, orphanages became associated with the adverse consequences of long-term, impersonal, and affectively impoverished institutional care and foster care represented a substitute family as a "temporary" but stable and caring setting preceding return to the family or adoption. There is little indication that any serious consideration was given to the possibility that long-term, permanent-care orphanages could provide nurturing, stable, consistent child care conditions or that foster care could and did become a permanent form of temporary care that all too often itself reproduced the conditions from which the child or adolescent had been removed. Observations on the consequences of early separation and loss, affective deprivation, and impersonal institutional care contributed to stereotypes of both orphanages and foster care. These stereotypes have not been subjected to adequate study and, however well intentioned, have not well served either our society or the children and youth who have needed to be removed from their homes because of abandonment, neglect, abuse, parental inadequacy, or death. Those children, by contrast to their more fortunate peers, deserve the very best alternative opportunity that our society can afford to provide but, instead, where adoption simply has not been an option, have all too often received some combination of unstable foster care and/or return to a dysfunctional home. The system, albeit with the best of intentions, has been deluged and overwhelmed progressively over the past 40 years by the dramatic increase in illegitimate births to teenage mothers, by the increases in child and spousal abuse, and by the welfare system itself. Shorn then of political rhetoric, stereotypic perceptions, and past experiences, orphanages deserve a reconsideration as one option available when, whatever the reasons, neither adoption nor return to the family is possible.