• Legislation

Social Welfare Act 1960, Victoria


The Social Welfare Act 1960 (No.6651) was proclaimed in stages from 1960. The sections concerned with family and child welfare did not become operative until June 1961. The Act established the Social Welfare Branch within the Chief Secretary’s Department. The Social Welfare Branch assumed responsibility for all functions previously administered by the Children’s Welfare Department and the Penal and Gaols Branch. This Social Welfare Branch included youth and adult corrections as well as family welfare. Adult corrections were not separated until 1984, with the creation of the Office of Corrections.

The full title is ‘An Act to establish a Social Welfare Branch of the Chief Secretary’s Department and to make provision with respect to the Functions of that branch and for other purposes.’

The Social Welfare Act 1960 reflects the development of Government policy in Victoria which began to emphasize an integrated approach to social welfare issues and the need for staff training and social research.

The term ‘youth training centre’ came into official use with the passage of the Victorian Social Welfare Act 1960. Section 9 of the Act provided that one of the functions of the new Youth Welfare Division was ‘to maintain and control state institutions to be called “Youth Training Centres” and “Remand Centres” for the reception detention and treatment of young persons convicted of any offence punishable by imprisonment or awaiting trial or sentence for any such offence’. Previously, such institutions were known in Victoria as ‘juvenile schools’.

Consistent with the growing knowledge about child development and the benefits of children retaining contact with their families, the Social Welfare Department began to employ social workers to work with the families of children in care, something which had previously been done by unqualified administrative officers. The introduction of professional social workers also had a positive impact on planning, policy and program development within the Department.

The Social Welfare Act 1960 also recognised the importance of training for residential care and other staff and the Social Welfare Department established a Training Division which introduced training courses for staff from government and non-government institutions.

The Social Welfare Act 1970 (No.8089) repealed and re-enacted the Social Welfare Act 1960, on 5 January 1971.


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