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Jane Austen

According to historian Lucy Worsley, English novelist, Jane Austen (1775-1817), and her 7 siblings were all in foster care as infants.

Cassandra Austen apparently weaned her babies as soon as possible and then sent them to a foster mother (probably a Mrs Littleworth) who cared for them until they were walking and talking.

The children’s parents visited the children daily, and sometimes the infants returned to the rectory for a visit too. But their home was in foster care.

Lucy Worsley argues there were benefits to this arrangement in that all the children survived. However, the bonds between the children and their mother were weakened so much that her children barely noticed when Mrs Austen was absent from the rectory.

Because Jane Austen also went to boarding school, Worsley estimates she spent nearly 5 of her first 11 years away from home.

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