Lutheran Children's Homes was established in around 1973, following the closure of the Lutheran Children's Home in Kew. Around this time, the Lutheran Church moved into family group home care, establishing cottage homes in Melbourne's eastern suburbs. During the early 1980s, Lutheran Children's Homes established a foster care service in south western Victoria, Glenelg Foster Care. In 1985 it established a family group home in Warrnambool. Lutheran Children's Homes operated services for children and young people in western Victoria until August 1995. From 1989 until 2002, Lutheran Children's Homes auspiced a preventive program in Melbourne called the Ringwood Extended Family Service. In 2002, Lutheran Children's Homes closed its services to young people and families.
In 1973, the Lutheran Church proposed a shift from 'congregate care' in the Children's Home, towards family group home care. The Lutheran Children's Home in Kew was closed in 1973 and the Church began to acquire new 'cottage home' properties in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne, operated by the agency called Lutheran Children's Homes.
By 1976 four new cottage homes were opened in Dryden Street, Doncaster East, Heatherdale Road, Mitcham, Mountfield Road, Nunawading and Dobell Street, Blackburn South. Each cottage home accommodated 5 or 6 children. The cottage homes allowed for siblings to be kept together.
There was also the Lutheran Teenage Family Care Home at 755 Station Street Box Hill, established in 1971 to house teenage children transitioning out of the Children's Home in Kew. It operated until 1980, when it was closed and converted to an administrative and welfare centre for Lutheran Social Services.
In the 1980s, it was decided to shift the Lutheran Church's resources to the area of Glenelg in south-west Victoria. This led to the creation of Glenelg Foster Care in 1983 and the opening of Family Group Homes in 1984 in Warrnambool, in Portland in 1985 and in Hamilton in 1989. Glenelg Foster Care and these family group homes were auspiced by Lutheran Children's Homes.
These programs in south western Victoria were partly funded by the sale of the properties in Mitcham (sold in 1984), and Blackburn South (sold in 1990). The last cottage home in Melbourne closed in 1988.
In 1989 in response to a demonstrated need to provide services for homeless young people, Lutheran Children's Homes agreed to auspice the Ringwood Extended Family Services program. It was devised to meet the needs of young people between the ages of 12 and 18 through the use of mediation and conflict resolution for young people and their families. It provided short-term substitute and longer term student accommodation. This program extended to Hamilton in 1995.
In 1991, Glenelg Foster Care, Glenelg Family Care, Currawong House in Hamilton, South Western Tenant Support Services, and Warrnambool Community Legal Aid Service amalgamated to form South Western Community Care Association Inc. (Lutheran Children's Homes continued as the auspice agency until August 1995.)
Lutheran Children's Homes closed its services to young people and families in 2002.
1950 - 1973 Lutheran Children's Home
c. 1973 - 2002 Lutheran Children's Homes
Sources used to compile this entry: Ampt, Shirley, 'Victorian Lutheran Children's Home', The Lutheran, 10 August 1970, pp. 348-351; 'Lutheran Children's Home (1950-76)', in Finding Records, Department of Health and Human Services, State of Victoria, https://www.findingrecords.dhhs.vic.gov.au/collectionresultspage/LutheranChildrensHome.
Prepared by: Cate O'Neill
Created: 30 January 2018, Last modified: 31 January 2018