The Children's Welfare Advisory Council came into being with the passage of the Children's Welfare Act 1954. The Council consisted of representatives nominated by the Children's Welfare Association of Victoria and the Victorian Council of Social Service. Its name changed to the Family Welfare Advisory Council with the passage of the Social Welfare Act 1960.
Under the Children's Welfare Act 1954, the Council's function was: 'to advise the Minister on any alterations in practice or procedure considered desirable from time to time for the welfare protection and care of children and young persons'.
The establishment of the Children's Welfare Advisory Council meant that for the first time in Victoria, there was a body which could conduct regular inspections of children's Homes and monitor whether minimum standards were being met. Given Victoria's reliance on institutions run by the charitable and religious sector to provide Homes for state wards, this development was seen by commentators such as Tierney as a great leap forward for the child welfare system.
Under the Act, 'voluntary institutions' had to apply to be registered as 'approved children's home', 'approved juvenile school' or 'approved juvenile hostel'. The Children's Welfare Advisory Council had the power to revoke this status in the event that the 'approved' institution was found not to be maintaining adequate standards for the children in its care.
A study by the Children's Welfare Advisory Committee led to the publication of a report containing comprehensive information about children's Homes in Victoria (Merritt's Child care staff in institutions, 1957).
Sources used to compile this entry: Report of the Committee of Enquiry into Child Care Services in Victoria, July 1976; Tierney, Leonard, Children Who Need Help, Melbourne University Press, Melbourne, 1963.
Prepared by: Cate O'Neill
Created: 4 June 2009, Last modified: 10 March 2014