Receiving Homes accommodated new wards of the state or children on remand from the courts until the Department found a more permanent placement for them. They also took in children requiring temporary accommodation and in transit between Homes. In about 1981, family group Homes replaced Receiving Homes.
Receiving Homes took in children requiring temporary accommodation under the Domestic Service Assistance Act. In the 1960s, because children with intellectual disabilities were difficult to place, one receiving home specialised in accommodating them.
Married women, known as Receiving Home Keepers, ran the Receiving Homes with the help of their husbands who were supposed to be in full employment. The couples often had children of their own who also lived in the Home. The Department paid the women the same rates as foster mothers. They also received the child endowment from the Commonwealth government unless the child was in the Home for only a short period. In those instances, the state government paid the receiving Home keeper 10 shillings a week instead.
When receiving Home keepers took their annual leave, the Home closed. Any children still there were placed somewhere else.
Receiving Homes were in four or five bedroom houses purchased and furnished by the government for this purpose. According to GC Smith, the Director of the Social Welfare Department, it was cheaper to run two receiving Homes, with each managed by a couple, than to build a larger custom made institution that required paid staff. The numbers of children were supposed to be restricted to six but there were sometimes more than that. If the children had intellectual disabilities, the numbers were kept to four or five.
In the 1960s, the Department kept children in receiving Homes for as short a time as possible but long enough to ensure that they would settle into a foster Home. Time in the receiving Home gave the child welfare officer an opportunity to assess their needs.
In the 1970s, children stayed longer in receiving Homes, mostly because of the difficulty of placing them elsewhere. In particular, there was a lack of placements for teenage girls, more of whom were being supervised by the Social Welfare Department. For a variety of reasons, institutions such as the Magdalen Home, Clarendon Children's Home, and Maylands Salvation Army Home for Girls did not have places. During this period, children also began staying longer if they got on well with the receiving Home keeper.
1898 - c. 1980 Receiving Home
c. 1981 - Family Group Home
Sources used to compile this entry: Ombudsman Tasmania, Listen to the children: Review of claims of abuse from adults in state care as children, Office of the Ombudsman, Tasmania, Hobart, November 2004. p.14..
Prepared by: Caroline Evans
Created: 24 January 2011, Last modified: 5 March 2015