Both good fortune and great help from my Argentine friends and co-
workers enabled me to expand this book from a discussion of street chil-
dren to one that looks at feminist and female philanthropic child advocacy
and the welfare state. My understanding of both themes would have been
far di√erent if I had not finally received permission to research heretofore
closed archives. After eight years of persistence and, with the help of Dora
Barrancos, then head of the Women’s Studies Program at the Universidad
Nacional de Buenos Aires and a former legislator for the Government of
Buenos Aires, I obtained permission to consult the archives of the govern-
ment agency charged with monitoring state institutions for children and
other legal issues associated with minors and the family. Currently known
as the Consejo Nacional de Niñez, Adolescencia y la Familia [the National
Council for Childhood, Adolescence and the Family, cnnaf], it holds many
of the archival papers of child welfare institutions (including the Society of
Beneficence) that are missing from the Archivo General de la Nación [Na-
tional Archives of Argentina, agn], as well as more than five hundred thou-
sand files on children who entered state institutions. Significantly, the por-
tion from 1880 to 1955 that I was allowed to consult had approximately fifty
thousand files. Since that date the numbers have soared tenfold—a clear
indication that the welfare state in Argentina continues to function, albeit
in a more limited and poorly financed way. This observation is rea≈rmed
by the lines of families that queue outside of state agencies. Assisted by my
researchers, Fernanda Gil Lozano, Luis Blacha, Laura Moon, and Analía
Coccolio, we read these files for two years until a change of government and
administration led to the rejection of our request to expand the time frame
of our investigation. Throughout our research, we were not allowed to
xerox, scan, or photograph files, but rather only transcribe them with
Previous Page Next Page