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Victoria - Organisation

Children's Welfare Department (1924 - 1960)

  • TV in a foster home, where three of our wards are sharing in a very happy family life

    TV in a foster home, where three of our wards are sharing in a very happy family life
    Details

State Government of Victoria

From
1924
To
1960
Categories
Care Provider and Government Agency
Alternative Names
  • Children's Welfare Branch (Also known as)

The Children's Welfare Department was established in 1924 to replace the Department for Neglected Children. The renaming of the Department signified the Government's awareness of the stigma which had become attached to the term 'neglected child', and did not reflect a change in functional responsibility or status. In 1928 the Department became responsible for the adoption of State wards, and for the regulation of the employment of children in street trading. In 1946, the Director of the Department assumed guardianship of migrants under twenty-one years of age who arrived in Victoria without parents or relatives. In 1954, the Department for Reformatory Schools was abolished, and the responsibility for juvenile offenders and reformatory schools (or juvenile schools) was assumed by the Children's Welfare Department.

Details

The Children's Welfare Act 1924 (No.3351), assented to on 1 October 1924, was enacted to rename the Department for Neglected Children as the Children's Welfare Department. The renaming of the Department signified the Government's awareness of the stigma which had become attached to the term 'neglected child', and did not reflect a change in functional responsibility or status. It is evident that the Department for Reformatory Schools continued to be administered jointly with the Children's Welfare Department.

The Children's Welfare Department subsequently became responsible for the adoption of State wards when the Adoption Act 1928 (No.3605) introduced adoption as a legal transfer of parental rights, and became responsible for the regulation of the employment of children in street trading under the provisions of the Street Trading Act 1928.

By delegation from the Commonwealth Minister of Immigration and under the provisions of the Commonwealth Immigration (Guardianship of Children) Act 1946 to 1952, the Director of the Department assumed guardianship of migrants under twenty-one years of age who arrived in Victoria without parents or relatives.

The Children's Welfare Act 1954 (No.5817) provided for the abolition of the Department for Reformatory Schools. Thereafter, responsibility for juvenile offenders and reformatory schools (from 1954 known as juvenile schools) was assumed by the Children's Welfare Department.

The passage of the 1954 Children's Welfare Act led to significant reorganisation within the Department. The new legislation required additional staff at the Department, including a team of trained social workers, to undertake 'field work'.

Leonard Tierney wrote in 1963 that despite the new legislation and new organisational structure, the Department had 'inherited traditions embodied in the original 1864 Act', and little real change had been effected.

From c.1956, the Children's Welfare Department became increasingly involved in delivering institutional care to wards of the state. In December 1956, the Department opened Sutton Grange, a Home for school age and pre school children. Sutton Grange was established to alleviate overcrowding at the Turana Reception Centre.

From 1956, the Department also established a number of state-run Family Group Homes.

Timeline

 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

Provided 'Care' At

Related Glossary Terms

Related Legislation

Related Organisations

Publications

Books

  • Tierney, Leonard, Children Who Need Help, Melbourne University Press, Melbourne, 1963. p.23. Details

Reports

  • Children's Welfare Department and Reformatory Schools. Report of the Secretary and Inspector., Government Printer, Melbourne, 1924 - 1954. Details
  • Report of the Director: Children's Welfare Department, Government Printer, Melbourne, 1955-1960. Details

Online Resources

Photos

TV in a foster home, where three of our wards are sharing in a very happy family life
Title
TV in a foster home, where three of our wards are sharing in a very happy family life
Type
Image

Details

Report of the Director for the Year 1956
Title
Report of the Director for the Year 1956
Type
Document
Date
1956 - 1957

Details

Report of the Director for the Year 1957
Title
Report of the Director for the Year 1957
Type
Document
Date
1958

Details

Sources used to compile this entry: Tierney, Leonard, Children Who Need Help, Melbourne University Press, Melbourne, 1963. p.23..

Prepared by: Cate O'Neill