Quick Reference

An abandoned infant who is “found” in a church or on the doorstep of a rich person's home, having been left there by a desperate woman unable or unwilling to care for it. In the 19th century and earlier, foundlings were common enough to justify special hospitals and orphanages to care for them. The practice of indigent mothers abandoning newborn infants still occurs rather frequently in India, Pakistan, and other low-income countries and occasionally in wealthy countries, including the United States and Canada. There is not necessarily a penalty for abandonment in such circumstances.

Subjects: History — Public Health and Epidemiology.

Reference entries