The State Records Office website gives an overview of the history of the Child Welfare Department:
' In 1927 the State Children Act Amendment Act was passed changing the name of the principal Act and the State Children's Department to Child Welfare Act and Child Welfare Department respectively. Responsibility for the Child Welfare function remained with the Chief Secretary until 1931 when it was passed to the Minister for Mines.
In 1934 a separate portfolio was created for child welfare. The Child Welfare Department was abolished in 1972 and its functions passed to the newly created Department for Community Welfare.'
Until 1972, the Child Welfare Department shared responsibility for the 'care and control' of children who were 'Aboriginal Wards' with the Chief Protector of Aborigines, and later the Commissioner for Native Affairs and the Commissioner of Native Welfare.
Sydney Watson had been the Secretary (head) of the Child Welfare Department for its first 15 years when he retired in 1932 after 37 years service. The department's Annual Report of that year described Mr Watson's contribution as follows:
'His successful efforts in improving legislation for the protection of children and those in distress, his unfailing courtesy, keen sympathy, and practical help, have won, not only well merited appreciation, but better still, have left behind as the outcome of his official career a lasting tribute of better conditions to many in need.'
19 May 2017
Cite this: https://www.findandconnect.gov.au/guide/wa/WE00364
First published by the Find & Connect Web Resource Project for the Commonwealth of Australia, 2011
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