The State Children Relief Act of 1881 [24/1881 (44 Vic. No.24)] created the State Children's Relief Board [SCRB], a body of nine members that reported to the Colonial Secretary. Its task was to remove children from state-funded institutions and board them out, or foster them, with working class families. This Act enabled the SCRB to pay fees to foster families, and to supervise foster children, and place them in apprenticeship as it saw fit. Within five years, almost all children who had been in the care of the Benevolent Society and the Roman Catholic and Protestant Orphanages were in the boarding out system. This Act was amended by the State Children Relief (Amendment) Act 1896. It was repealed by the State Children Relief Act 1901.
At first, only children who had already been placed in institutions could be boarded out, but the Act was amended in 1901 to enable the SCRB to commit children directly to its care. An earlier amendment in 1896 had enabled the SCRB to pay a half-rate of the boarding out allowance to widows and deserted wives who were considered respectable enough to keep their children.
1881 - 1901 State Children Relief Act 1881
1901 - 1923 State Children Relief Act 1901
1923 - 1939 Child Welfare Act 1923
1939 - 1987 Child Welfare Act 1939
1965 - 2003 Adoption of Children Act 1965
1987 - 2010 Children (Care and Protection) Act 1987
1998 - Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act 1998
2000 - Adoption Act 2000
Sources used to compile this entry: Report of the State Children's Relief Department, W.A. Gullick, Government Printer, Sydney, 1881-1893; Report of the State Children's Relief Board, W.A. Gullick, Government Printer, Sydney, 1894-1920. Also available at https://www.opengov.nsw.gov.au/main; 'State Children's Relief Board', in State Records Authority of New South Wales website, State of New South Wales through the State Records Authority of NSW 2016, 2012, https://www.records.nsw.gov.au/agency/111; Parry, Naomi, 'Such a longing': black and white children in welfare in New South Wales and Tasmania, 1880-1940, Department of History, University of New South Wales, 2007, 361 pp, http://hdl.handle.net/1959.4/40786; Thinee, Kristy and Bradford, Tracy, Connecting Kin: Guide to Records, A guide to help people separated from their families search for their records [completed in 1998], New South Wales Department of Community Services, Sydney, New South Wales, 1998, https://clan.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/connectkin_guide.pdf.
Prepared by: Naomi Parry
Created: 21 February 2011, Last modified: 10 June 2021