Foster Care, Government Department, Adoption Agency, Care Provider
State Children's Relief Board
State Children Relief Department
State Children's Relief Branch
The State Children's Relief Department was the public service body responsible for implementing the recommendations of the State Children's Relief Board. It was part of the Chief Secretary's Department until 1888, when it became part of the Department of Charitable Institutions. It moved to the Department of Public Instruction in 1923. The titles 'State Children's Relief Board' and 'State Children's Relief Department' mean the same thing and both may appear in the records. Generally, the word Department refers to the staff (the public servants), while the word Board describes the people who made the decisions about the running of this agency. The head of the State Children's Relief Board led the State Children's Relief Department, and the Boarding Out Officer was the most senior public servant. In Find & Connect, we use the term 'State Children's Relief Board' to cover all the functions of this agency.
The State Children's Relief Department supervised all children taken into state care, whether they were boarded out (fostered), apprenticed, informally 'adopted' or placed in institutional care. It also supervised boarding out payments to destitute mothers. The key personnel were the boarding out officers and inspectors and, after Children's Courts were introduced, probation officers. The Department also relied on local networks of lady visitors and priests to supervise children.