• Organisation

Department for Neglected Children, Colony of Victoria


The main responsibility of the Department for Neglected Children upon its establishment was the maintenance and management of ‘neglected’ children including: supervision of State wards in receiving houses and probationary schools, provision of trade apprenticeships programs, ‘boarding out’ of children in the service of persons willing to take charge of their maintenance and education, provision of assistance to non-wards.

Almost since the introduction of the Neglected and Criminal Children’s Act in 1864, the impropriety of dealing with ‘neglected’ children and ‘uncontrollable’ children together had been acknowledged. This led in 1887 to the proclamation of two new statutes: the Neglected Children’s Act and the Juvenile Offenders’ Act. With these new laws, responsibility for ‘neglected’ children was assumed by a Department for Neglected Children, and a Department for Reformatory Schools assumed responsibility for convicted juveniles.

Although responsibility was statutorily separated in this manner it is evident that both departments continued to be administered jointly within the Chief Secretary’s Department.

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