Term commonly found on child welfare records, Type of 'care'
A reformatory was an institution for 'criminal' children, later known as juvenile offenders. The lines between 'neglected' and 'criminal' children were often blurred. The term was used largely from the 1870s through to the 1970s and comes from the notion that a young person committed to a secure institution would receive 'reformative treatment'. For example, a history of child welfare prepared for WA's 150th anniversary of European settlement declared that it was 'considered that life in an Industrial School, under proper Christian influence, would act as a reforming influence on children and it seems to have been believed that children who did offend did so because they had not had the benefit of such influences.'
Up until the 1950s, the term 'reformatory' was also used in relation to 'industrial schools'.