Some people may find content on this website distressing. Read more
Western Australia - Organisation

Child Welfare Department (1927 - 1972)

  • Child Welfare Department, Perth, 1930

    Child Welfare Department, Perth, 1930, courtesy of Truth newspaper collection, State Library of Western Australia.
    Details

State of Western Australia

From
22 December 1927
To
15 June 1972
Categories
Adoption Agency, Care Provider and Government Department

The Child Welfare Department of Western Australia was responsible for the welfare of children in out of home care for much of the twentieth century. Known as the 'CWD' or 'the welfare', the department had an impact on the lives of many WA families. The CWD ran its own Children's Homes, 'placed' children in other Children's Homes or Foster Homes and organised adoptions. It licensed and inspected the places and people who were registered to provide care and kept statistics on the number of children who were in care. The CWD also had the power to bring children before the Children's Court.

Details

The State Records Office website gives an overview of the history of the Child Welfare Department:

In 1927 the State Children Act Amendment Act was passed changing the name of the principal Act and the State Children's Department to Child Welfare Act and Child Welfare Department respectively. Responsibility for the Child Welfare function remained with the Chief Secretary until 1931 when it was passed to the Minister for Mines.

In 1934 a separate portfolio was created for child welfare. The Child Welfare Department was abolished in 1972 and its functions passed to the newly created Department for Community Welfare.

Until 1972, the Child Welfare Department shared responsibility for the 'care and control' of children who were 'Aboriginal Wards' with the Chief Protector of Aborigines, and later the Commissioner for Native Affairs and the Commissioner of Native Welfare. I

Sydney Watson had been the Secretary (head) of the Child Welfare Department for its first 15 years when he retired in 1932 after 37 years service. The department's Annual Report of that year described Mr Watson's contribution as follows:

His successful efforts in improving legislation for the protection of children and those in distress, his unfailing courtesy, keen sympathy, and practical help, have won, not only well merited appreciation, but better still, have left behind as the outcome of his official career a lasting tribute of better conditions to many in need.

Timeline

 1874 - 1908 Superintendent of Poor Relief and Inspector of Charitable Institutions
       1908 - 1917 Public Charities and State Children Department
             1917 - 1927 State Children Department
                   1927 - 1972 Child Welfare Department
                         1972 - 1985 Department for Community Welfare
                               1985 - 1992 Department for Community Services
                                     1992 - 1995 Department for Community Development
                                           1995 - 2001 Department for Family and Children's Services
                                                 2001 - 2007 Department for Community Development
                                                       2007 - 2013 Department for Communities
                                                       2007 - 2013 Department for Child Protection
                                                             2013 - Department of Local Government and Communities
                                                             2013 - 2017 Department for Child Protection and Family Support
                                                                   2017 - Child Protection and Family Support

Related Archival Series

Related Concepts

Related Events

Related Glossary Terms

Related Legislation

Related Organisations

Publications

Books

  • Knight, Ivor Alan, Out of darkness : growing up with the Christian brothers, Fremantle Arts Centre Press, South Fremantle, 1998. Details
  • Whittington, Vera, Sister Kate: a life dedicated to children in need of care, University of Western Australia Press, Nedlands, Western Australia, 1999. Details

Reports

  • Western Australia. Child Welfare Department, Annual Report of the Child Welfare Department, Child Welfare Department, Perth [W.A.], 1928-1972. 1930, 1932, 1935, 1953, 1965, 1970. Details

Online Resources

Photos

Child Welfare Department, Perth, 1930
Title
Child Welfare Department, Perth, 1930
Type
Image
Date
1930
Source
Truth newspaper collection, State Library of Western Australia

Details

Happy and Carefree Natures Caught By the Cameraman In These Studies of Young Western Australians
Title
Happy and Carefree Natures Caught By the Cameraman In These Studies of Young Western Australians
Type
Image
Date
5 February 1939
Source
National Library of Australia

Details

Their Home a Garage
Title
Their Home a Garage
Type
Image
Date
19 February 1947
Source
National Library of Australia

Details

Enquiry by Mr. John Moss. Points on which information is needed as to provision for the welfare of children emigrating from the United Kingdom to Australia
Title
Enquiry by Mr. John Moss. Points on which information is needed as to provision for the welfare of children emigrating from the United Kingdom to Australia
Type
Document
Date
10 May 1951
Source
National Archives of Australia

Details

Minutes of conference of representatives of institutions accommodating migrant children
Title
Minutes of conference of representatives of institutions accommodating migrant children
Type
Document
Date
25 May 1951
Source
National Archives of Australia

Details

Moss Report Implementation [Excerpt] - Methodist Homes for Children
Title
Moss Report Implementation [Excerpt] - Methodist Homes for Children
Type
Document
Date
12 July 1954
Source
National Archives of Australia,

Details

Boys Behind Iron Bars
Title
Boys Behind Iron Bars
Type
Image
Date
15 August 1954
Source
National Library of Australia

Details

Moss Report Implementation [Excerpt] - Case Histories
Title
Moss Report Implementation [Excerpt] - Case Histories
Type
Document
Date
18 March 1955
Source
National Archives of Australia

Details

Moss Report Implementation [Excerpt] - Health Examinations
Title
Moss Report Implementation [Excerpt] - Health Examinations
Type
Document
Date
21 April 1955
Source
National Archives of Australia,

Details

Adoption of Children Act Amendment Act 1964
Title
Adoption of Children Act Amendment Act 1964
Type
Document
Date
23 December 1964
Source
State Law Publisher of Western Australia

Details

Sources used to compile this entry: Western Australia. Child Welfare Department, Annual Report of the Child Welfare Department, Child Welfare Department, Perth [W.A.], 1928-1972. 1930, 1932, 1935, 1953, 1965, 1970..

Prepared by: Leanne Howard and Debra Rosser