I wrote an article for the FamilySearch Wiki about Orphanages in Sweden. In summary the Swedish State Church had responsibility for this need until the 1600’s. Beginning in 1619 a law was passed that city administrators throughout the kingdom should create an orphanage to reduce begging. In 1624 another law was passed that stated that every province and city should create an orphanage.
Some of the earliest orphanages include Joachim Firbrandts correctional facility / orphanage (1624 – 1630) on Gråmunkholm in Stockholm, Stora Barnhus Stockholm (1638 – 1785), Lidköping barnhus (1675 – 1830), and Malmö barnhus (1682 – 1890.)
In the 1700’s the rate of illegitimacy increased. Orphanages were established throughout the kingdom including Lidköpings Barnhus (1675 – 1830), Göteborgs Stads Barnhus (1737 – 1999), Frimurarbarnhus Stockholm – private (1753 – 1940), Politibarnhus Stockholm (1754 – 1785), Murbeckska stiftelsen (1754 – 1920), Frimurarbarnhuset Göteborg – private (1756 – present), Gustavianska Barnhus Norrköping – private (1772 – ), Östads Barnhus Östad Säteri near Alingsås – private (1774 -1978), Gustafsbergs Barnhus Uddevalla – private (1776 – 1924), and Allmänna Barnhus Stockholm (1785 – 1960.)
With the municipal reform of 1862, the responsability for the poor in a parish was transferred to the municipalities (Kommun.) By this time additional institutions called Barnhem for the care for children were created all over the kingdom. The barnhem were intended to be a place where children who had difficult circumstances at home would be raised. These difficult circumstances could be due to death of parents, challenges with divorce, sickness, or life with a single parent. Whatever the situation, a child could be taken to barnhem with the hope for a better life.
Additional information can be found on the Orphanages in Sweden page of the FamilySearch Wiki. That page has a Historical Timeline of Orphanages in Sweden, a Researching an Orphan Case Study, along with tables that list orphanages and barnhem throughout the kingdom. If you have questions about this subject, or insights to improve the content, you can contact me through the Talk page on the Orphanages in Sweden page or leave a comment in this Blog.