The Kate Cocks Babies' Home was the new name given to the Methodist Home for Babies and Unmarried Mothers at Brighton in 1954. The name honoured the work of Miss Kate Cocks who had been integral to the establishment of the Home.
The Home gave shelter to single girls who were pregnant or had recently given birth to their first child and also provided care for children who were orphaned or deemed as neglected. It also took in children whose parents were unable to care for them due to illness or other reasons. The Kate Cocks Memorial Babies' Home provided both short and long term care and also arranged adoptions.
Most women from the Kate Cocks Memorial Babies' Home had their babies at the Wyld Maternity Home, which was part of the premises. This part of the Home could accommodate up to seven mothers and their babies. Other women gave birth at the Queen Victoria Maternity Hospital where they stayed for up to 12 days, before returning to the Home.
When the Adoption of Children Act 1966-1967 was passed, charitable agencies who arranged adoptions were required to apply to the Director of Social Welfare to operate as a private adoption agency. In November 1967 The Kate Cocks Memorial Adoption Agency was registered. This Agency, based at the Babies' Home, arranged many adoptions.
In July 1975 a fire, which started when clothes drying by a radiator caught alight, destroyed a bedroom in the Home. According to The Advertiser, a number of expectant mothers were evacuated but were uninjured. Other parts of the Home were water and smoke damaged.
By the mid-1970s more children were placed in cottage style homes or in foster care rather than adopted. As a result of these changes, the Kate Cocks Memorial Babies' Home ceased to operate as a residential institution for children in 1976. It continued to offer day care as part of the Central Methodist Mission's child care program. The Kate Cocks Memorial Adoption Agency closed in 1978.
18 September 2017
Cite this: https://www.findandconnect.gov.au/guide/sa/SE00120
First published by the Find & Connect Web Resource Project for the Commonwealth of Australia, 2011
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