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Victoria - Organisation

Social Welfare Department (1970 - 1978)

  • Map of Social Welfare Department country regions including location of children's homes and reception centres

    Map of Social Welfare Department country regions including location of children's homes and reception centres, 1976
    Details

State Government of Victoria

From
1970
To
1978
Categories
Care Provider and Government Agency

The Social Welfare Department was established under the provisions of the Social Welfare Act 1970 (No.8089). The Department came into being in 1971, assuming responsibility for all functions previously administered by the Social Welfare Branch. In 1978, it became the Department of Community Welfare Services.

Details

The Social Welfare Department's charter was to develop and coordinate a statewide network of children's and family welfare services. It commenced a regionalisation program in 1972. During this period there was a policy of 'maximum feasible regionalisation', to transform the Department from a centralised organisation to one in which most face-to-face activities, and decision-making, would be carried out in regional centres.

With the establishment of new Regions, the Central Office was to be responsible for administrative, personnel and accounting functions, as well as policy and planning.

The new rural regions were: Mallee, Wimmera, Loddon-Campaspe, Goulburn, Upper Murray, East Gippsland, Central Gippsland, Barwon, Glenelg, Central Highlands.

The Family Welfare Division was the administrative section within the Department responsible for reception centres and children's homes. The Division supervised wards of the state living in private foster care placements or approved children's Homes conducted by the various voluntary agencies.

The Department introduced a new system for funding 'approved' [i.e., non-government] children's Homes in 1976. Under this method, the Department met 90% of staff salaries and the 'per capita' rate paid to children's Homes by the state was increased.

In the annual report for 1975-76, the Director-General of Social Welfare stated that the new funding arrangements acknowledged the major role played by 'approved non-departmental organisations' in Victoria's out of home care system.

The new arrangement was borne out of a crisis in the voluntary child care sector in 1974, when organisations faced critical financial pressure to meet their rising staffing costs and provide new models of 'care'.

Another response to the financial panic of the voluntary agencies was the establishment in late 1974 of the Committee of the Enquiry into Child Care Services in Victoria.

The Enquiry (whose 'Norgard Report' was released in 1976) led to further changes within the Department. From 1976, a new Family Support Unit was funded, within the Family Welfare Division. The new Family Support Unit was an initiative arising from the 'Alternatives to Residential Care Subcommittee'.

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

Publications

Books

  • Howe, Renate; Swain, Shurlee, All God's Children: a centenary history of the Methodist Homes for Children and the Orana Peace Memorial Homes, Acorn Press, Kambah, ACT, 1989. pp.162-163. Details

Journals

  • Victorian Year Book, Australian Bureau of Statistics, Victorian Office, 1873 - 2002. 1967. Details

Reports

  • Annual report: Social Welfare Department, Government Printer, Melbourne, 1961-1978. Details

Online Resources

Photos

The Social Welfare Act 1970
Title
The Social Welfare Act 1970
Type
Document

Details

Map of Social Welfare Department country regions including location of children's homes and reception centres
Title
Map of Social Welfare Department country regions including location of children's homes and reception centres
Type
Document
Date
1976

Details

Sources used to compile this entry: Victorian Year Book, Australian Bureau of Statistics, Victorian Office, 1873 - 2002. 1967.; Howe, Renate; Swain, Shurlee, All God's Children: a centenary history of the Methodist Homes for Children and the Orana Peace Memorial Homes, Acorn Press, Kambah, ACT, 1989. pp.162-163..

Prepared by: Cate O'Neill