The State Children's Relief Department was the public service body responsible for implementing the recommendations of the State Children's Relief Board. It was part of the Chief Secretary's Department until 1888, when it became part of the Department of Charitable Institutions. It moved to the Department of Public Instruction in 1923. The titles 'State Children's Relief Board' and 'State Children's Relief Department' mean the same thing and both may appear in the records. Generally, the word Department refers to the staff (the public servants), while the word Board describes the people who made the decisions about the running of this agency. The head of the State Children's Relief Board led the State Children's Relief Department, and the Boarding Out Officer was the most senior public servant. In Find & Connect, we use the term 'State Children's Relief Board' to cover all the functions of this agency.
The State Children's Relief Department supervised all children taken into state care, whether they were boarded out (fostered), apprenticed, informally 'adopted' or placed in institutional care. It also supervised boarding out payments to destitute mothers. The key personnel were the boarding out officers and inspectors and, after Children's Courts were introduced, probation officers. The Department also relied on local networks of lady visitors and priests to supervise children.
Sources used to compile this entry: 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; 'Chief Secretary', in State Records Authority of New South Wales website, State of New South Wales through the State Records Authority of NSW 2016, https://www.records.nsw.gov.au/agency/16; 'Dept of Community Services', in State Records Authority of New South Wales website, State of New South Wales through the State Records Authority of NSW 2016, https://www.records.nsw.gov.au/agency/114; 'Metropolitan Hospitals and Charities Department', in State Records Authority of New South Wales website, State of New South Wales through the State Records Authority of NSW 2016, https://www.records.nsw.gov.au/agency/1923; 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://unsworks.unsw.edu.au/fapi/datastream/unsworks:1369/SOURCE01?view=true; Quinn, Peter E, Unenlightened efficiency: the administration of the juvenile correction system in New South Wales 1905-1988, University of Sydney, History, 27 March 2006, http://hdl.handle.net/2123/623.
Prepared by: Naomi Parry
Created: 22 February 2011, Last modified: 18 May 2014