The State Children Act Amendment Act 1919 repealed the State Children Act Amendment Act of 1915 and made significant amendments to the State Children Act 1907. It implemented changes recommended by the Select Committee of the Legislative Council which was appointed in 1918 to inquire into the State Children Act Amendment Bill. In terms of how the out of home care system operated, these changes gave an increased power to the Children's Court, enabling it to vary the length of wardship (previously, a child was made a ward until age 18), re-hear cases, inspect premises where children were placed, take into account the circumstances of the child and the case in their decisions and 'refrain from imposing any punishment' or dismiss the case. Importantly, the Act now said that 'the future welfare of the child' should be taken into account when placing the child in out of home care, and it gave the Children's Court the power to choose somewhere other than a 'scheduled institution'. Other key amendments included compulsory licensing (by the State Children Department) of persons or institutions fostering more than two children under the age of six (schools and lodgers exempted). Also, any male manager of an institution (or husband of a licensed foster mother) was deemed to be the guardian of a female State child (and subject to special clauses relating to sexual offences by guardians in the Criminal Code).
Sources used to compile this entry: To Remove and Protect: Aboriginal Lives Under Control [website], 2010, https://aiatsis.gov.au/collection/featured-collections/remove-and-protect; State Children Act Amendment Act 1919 (WA) [Document].
Prepared by: Debra Rosser
Created: 28 June 2011, Last modified: 15 June 2018