The Citizens Welfare Service Hostel for Girls, at 10 Fernhurst Grove, Kew, opened in 1964. It accommodated young women experiencing family problems, as well as young women who had spent their childhood in institutions and had 'little experience of family'. Up to 10 young women could be at the hostel at any one time. The hostel closed in September 1967 due to financial problems. After the closure, the CWS leased the property to St John's Homes for Boys and Girls as a temporary site for its hostel for boys and young men. Although CWS planned to reopen the hostel, this did not happen.
In the Citizens Welfare Service (CWS) annual report for 1964, it announced that it was soon to open a hostel for young women, as a 'new complementary service'. Located at 10 Fernhurst Grove, Kew, the hostel could accommodate up to 10 young women at a time. Residents received individual counselling service from CWS social workers. The annual report stated:
The initial need for this service arose out of the casework program as our work with adolescent girls was seriously hampered by the lack of a small family setting for girls who had to leave home temporarily, due to maladjustment of family relationships. Another substantial group of girls who will be helped by the hostel are those who have grown up in institutions and have little experience of family life (CWS Annual Report 1964, p.3).
CWS reported on the hostel in its annual report of 1967, writing that it aimed to 'provide a family-like atmosphere where the girls, most of whom have been emotionally deprived or come from unhappy homes, can experience a sense of belonging, trust and caring.' CWS saw the hostel as an extension of its central counselling service. Hostel staff included had a non-resident social worker, and 2 'house mothers' (CWS Annual Report 1967, p.3).
The annual report for 1968 stated that the hostel had had to close in 1967 for financial reasons (a 'heavy bank overdraft'). Following the hostel's closure in 1967, St John's Homes for Boys and Girls approached the CWS about using the Kew property temporarily. St John's was establishing a hostel for teenage boys and the building was not ready. CWS leased the Kew hostel to St John's.
The 1968 annual report stated that CWS was planning to reopen the hostel, with the assistance of an anonymous donor. 'There is a great lack of this kind of care in the community, especially for girls. Several other organisations do run hostel programmes for boys but very few do for girls who require to live away from home. Our programme is both preventive and therapeutic (CWS Annual Report 1968, p.3)'. However, the CWS Hostel did not reopen after its closure in 1967.
Citizens Welfare Service Hostel for Girls, Kew, was located at 10 Fernhurst Grove, Kew, Victoria.
Sources used to compile this entry: Citizens Welfare Services - Justice and Healing, drummond street services, 2020, https://ds.org.au/citizens-welfare-services-justice-healing/.
Prepared by: Cate O'Neill
Created: 11 November 2020