Family group Home is the name given to a model of 'care' where small groups of children are accommodated in buildings that approximate the size and form of a normal family home. In 1946 in the United Kingdom, the Curtis Report had called for the development of the family group Home system, following concerns about the lack of individual attention given to children in large institutions. In Victoria, this model became increasingly popular from the late 1940s, as congregate care of large groups of children (for example, in dormitories) began to be phased out. In the late 1950s and early 1960s, the Department encouraged non-government agencies to move from providing accommodation in large institutionalised children's Homes to family group Home care. By 1976 there were over 230 government and non-government family group Homes across Victoria.
Dr Phyllis Tewsley, Medical Superintendent at Royal Park Depot and Turana from 1948 until her retirement in 1959, was one of the pioneers of the small family group idea for children as an alternative to the established system of caring for them in large institutions. (By 1962 ten separate family group Homes operated in Melbourne. Tewsley was appointed MBE on 1 January 1962 in recognition of her work in child welfare.)
Initially, organisations in Victoria made the transition towards the family group Home model by building smaller 'cottages' on the existing sites of children's Homes. This approach was taken by Methodist Homes for Children, which established cottages where smaller groups of children lived with cottage parents. In 1952, the new Orana homes were built according to this model of a 'village' of cottages on one site.
When the Victorian government established its family group home program in 1956, the Homes were situated in 'ordinary' streets in Melbourne's northern suburbs.
This 'scattered' family group Home model was adopted by Kildonan Homes for Children. The sale of the Kildonan Children's Home in Burwood in 1960 funded the purchase of family group Homes in the eastern suburbs.
Sources used to compile this entry: Women Share in Honours Bestowed by Queen, The Age, 1 January 1962, 3 pp, https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1300&dat=19620101&id=hDITAAAAIBAJ&sjid=gbIDAAAAIBAJ&pg=7127,29577&hl=en; Barnard, Jill; Twigg, Karen, Holding on to Hope: a history of the founding agencies of MacKillop Family Services 1854-1997, Australian Scholarly Publishing, Melbourne, 2004.
Prepared by: Cate O'Neill
Created: 25 June 2009, Last modified: 25 February 2015