• Organisation

Catholic Social Service Bureau - Archdiocese of Melbourne


The Catholic Social Service Bureau was established in 1935 by Archbishop of Melbourne Daniel Mannix. One of the Bureau’s functions was to administer applications for children to be admitted to the many Catholic children’s homes in Victoria. It also counselled unmarried mothers and arranged foster care placements and adoptions. In 1956, it changed its name to the Catholic Family Welfare Bureau.

The Catholic Social Service Bureau employed two of Australia’s first ‘professional’ social workers, Norma Parker and Constance Moffitt. Barnard and Twigg write that Moffitt and Parker were concerned that too many children were being placed in institutional care simply because of family poverty. They urged the Archbishop Mannix to establish an organisation to coordinate the work of Catholic institutions. In 1935, Constance Moffitt was appointed the Bureau’s first head.

Catholic Social Services was mentioned in the Commonwealth Contribution to Former Forced Adoption Policies and Practices Inquiry (2012) as an organisation that was involved in forced adoption.

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