Colony of Victoria
The main responsibility of the Department for Neglected Children upon its establishment was the maintenance and management of 'neglected' children including: supervision of State wards in receiving houses and probationary schools, provision of trade apprenticeships programs, 'boarding out' of children in the service of persons willing to take charge of their maintenance and education, provision of assistance to non-wards.
Almost since the introduction of the Neglected and Criminal Children's Act in 1864, the impropriety of dealing with 'neglected' children and 'uncontrollable' children together had been acknowledged. This led in 1887 to the proclamation of two new statutes: the Neglected Children's Act and the Juvenile Offenders' Act. With these new laws, responsibility for 'neglected' children was assumed by a Department for Neglected Children, and a Department for Reformatory Schools assumed responsibility for convicted juveniles.
Although responsibility was statutorily separated in this manner it is evident that both departments continued to be administered jointly within the Chief Secretary's Department.
1864 - 1887 Department of Industrial and Reformatory Schools
1887 - 1900 Department for Neglected Children
1901 - 1924 Department for Neglected Children
1924 - 1960 Children's Welfare Department
1960 - 1970 Social Welfare Branch
1970 - 1978 Social Welfare Department
1978 - 1985 Department of Community Welfare Services
1985 - 1992 Community Services Victoria
1992 - 1995 Health and Community Services
1995 - 2014 Department of Human Services
2015 - Department of Health & Human Services
Sources used to compile this entry: 'Agency VA 1466 Department of Industrial and Reformatory Schools', in Public Record Office Victoria Online Catalogue, Agency details, catalogue entry, Public Record Office Victoria, 2005, http://www.prov.vic.gov.au; Guillaume, George; Connor, Edward C., The Development and Working of the Reformatory and Preventive Systems in the Colony of Victoria, Australia, 1864-1890, Government Printer, Melbourne, 1891. Also available at http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/243591.
Prepared by: Cate O'Neill
Created: 19 February 2009, Last modified: 3 March 2014