Probation was introduced in 1905 in New South Wales and was part of the Children's Court system. It was a way of supervising children who had been charged with a crime or misdemeanour, or with neglect, in the court, but who were considered to be able to reform.
Probation officers visited the child's home regularly, and ensured the family kept the home environment to a satisfactory standard. They also checked that the child attended school and stayed out of trouble. Probation meant fewer children were taken into care, but enabled the officers of the State Children's Relief and Child Welfare Departments to police the activities of families.
Sources used to compile this entry: 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.
Prepared by: Naomi Parry
Created: 22 November 2012