Some people may find content on this website distressing. Read more
Northern Territory - Concept

Family Homes

Type of 'care'
Alternative Names
  • Family Group Homes (Also known as)
  • Official Foster Homes (Also known as)

Family Homes were purpose-built Homes developed to provide long term accommodation and care for up to nine children as a group. Each residence was managed by a cottage mother and her husband. Cottage parents were provided with rent-free accommodation and were paid a subsidy for each child under their care as well as a supervisory allowance.


When family Homes were first developed by Northern Territory Welfare Branch in the mid 1960s they were referred to in policy documents as 'official foster homes'. Welfare Branch correspondence in October 1964 stated that they were:

not regarded as substitutes for foster homes in which over half our wards of the State are placed, but rather as substitutes for institutions.

The original 1964 proposal regarding the development of these Homes stated that there was a 'gap' in the care the government was able to provide, particularly for children with special needs and adolescents. The Welfare Branch was concerned that there was no suitable placement options for older children whom they described as:

not difficult enough to be committed as delinquent children but who nevertheless require more care and attention than can normally be given in the homes for deprived children or in the hostels, and who would obviously not be attractive to foster parents to care for.

Family Homes were designed to meet this need and were established in Darwin, Alice Springs, Batchelor, Tennant Creek and Katherine during the late 1960s and early 1970s.

Sources used to compile this entry: F1411 Correspondence files relating to social development with an 'SD' Prefix,: SD1705 & SD 1706, Foster Homes (Special) Proposed Establishment - Policy, NTAS.

Prepared by: Karen George and Gary George