Child guidance clinics were established in the 1930s and formalised by the 1935 Child Welfare Act. An important motive in the development of child guidance clinics was to counteract 'juvenile delinquency', but the clinics did try to take a wholistic approach to the child's condition and tried to avoid placing children in care. Child guidance clinics used psychology and medicine to deal with difficult behaviour and help children adjust to challenging issues in their lives. Family members were frequently involved.
By the 1950s there were five Child Guidance Clinics, each consisting of a psychiatrist, a psychologist, a social worker and a clerical assistant. They were controlled by the Department of Health, but worked closely with the Child Welfare Department. All children passing through the Children's Court were assessed by Child Guidance Clinics.
In 2012 child guidance clinics functioned as part of child and family mental health services.
Prepared by: Naomi Parry
Created: 26 October 2011, Last modified: 13 February 2019