In 1888, two conferences addressed the institutionalization of children. At the National Conference of Charities and Corrections, philanthropists determined that American and western European immigrant children whose parents were unable or unwilling to care for them should be protected from institutionalization and placed in foster homes. Conversely, the philanthropists and religious missionaries who met at the annual Lake Mohonk Conference concluded that American Indian children should be institutionalized in off-reservation boarding schools. Although both groups of children were depicted as a threat to social order at the conferences, presenters at the National Conference of Charities and Corrections used new theories of childhood development to oppose the institutionalization of American and western European children. At the Lake Mohonk Conference, presenters used theories of American Indians’ racial inferiority to justify American Indian children’s institutionalization in off-reservation boarding schools.