The Catholic Social Service Bureau was established in 1935 by Archbishop of Melbourne Daniel Mannix. It employed two of Australia's first 'professional' social workers, Norma Parker and Constance Moffitt. Barnard and Twigg write that Moffitt and Parker were concerned that too many children were being placed in institutional care simply because of family poverty. They urged the Archbishop Mannix to establish an organisation to coordinate the work of Catholic institutions. In 1935, Constance Moffitt was appointed the Bureau's first head. One of the Bureau's functions was to administer applications for children to be admitted to the many Catholic children's homes in Victoria. It also counselled unmarried mothers and arranged foster care placements and adoptions. In 1956, it changed its name to the Catholic Family Welfare Bureau and in 1966, it was approved as an adoption agency under the Victorian legislation. In 1998 it became known as Centacare Catholic Family Services.
Sources used to compile this entry: 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; Land, Clare and Nikki Henningham, 'Parker, Norma Alice', in Australian Women's Register, National Foundation for Australian Women, 2010, http://www.womenaustralia.info/biogs/IMP0264b.htm.
Prepared by: Cate O'Neill
Created: 5 May 2010, Last modified: 28 October 2011