'Wards Resident in Institutions - Vocational Guidance Reports - Policy & General Correspondence' is a file held by the State Records Office of Western Australia, within the series titled 'Files - Community Welfare ("A" Series)'. It was created on the 16 March 1950 with a letter from Father Cyril Stinson of the Catholic Episcopal Migration and Welfare Association. Father Stinson wrote to inform the Secretary of the Child Welfare Department (CWD) that he had received 'vocational guidance reports on several wards at St Joseph's Orphanage' and thought that it 'might be a very good idea to have all our State Wards in all Institutions examined and reported on.' This suggestion was followed up by the CWD and the file contains correspondence about this process - firstly with the Education Department in WA and later with the Commonwealth Employment Service.
Access to this file is restricted in order to protect personal privacy. Permission to access it must be obtained from Freedom of Information at the Department of Communitites.
'Wards Resident in Institutions - Vocational Guidance Reports - Policy & General Correspondence' was created by the Child Welfare Department (CWD) and is organised in reverse date order (that is, with the most recent item at the beginning of the file).
On 31 July 1950, the Secretary of the CWD wrote to a number of Children's Homes to tell them that arrangements had been made for children in these institutions to have 'Vocational Guidance Examinations' in their first year of school, in Standard 6 (approximately 12 years old), and in Standard 8 (approximately 14 years old). Some replies agreeing with the proposal are on the file, including letters from the Methodist Homes for Children (Victoria Park and the Tom Allen Farm School at Werribee); The Anglican Homes for Children (Swan Boys' and Girls' Homes, William A. Saw Seaside Home, and Padbury Boys' Farm School); and Presbyterian Children's Homes (Benmore and Burnbrae). Other institutions which received the letter were the Catholic Episcopal Migration Association (Clontarf, Castledare, St Joseph's Girls' Orphanage, St Vincent's Foundling Home, Nazareth House, Tardun Farm School, and St Joseph's Boys' School Bindoon); Salvation Army Boys' Home; Salvation Army Girls' Home; and Parkerville Children's Home. Fairbridge was not noted in the distribution list for the letter that is on file.
This file also contains correspondence between the Commonwealth Employment Service (CES) and the Child Welfare Department relating to vocational guidance tests. A number of items in the file discuss who should have a vocational guidance test, what type of 'background' information should be given to the testing authorities, and how the results should be reported. There is a handwritten note from the CWD Psychologist, K. Maine, in 1964 to its Secretary, Mr McCall. Mr Maine was later to become Secretary of the Department. The file also contains references to young people who were tested.
The correspondence shows that the confidentiality of these test results was given a high priority. In a letter from the Professional Services Office of the CES to the CWD on 26 March 1964, a request was made for 'maximum security' to be 'guaranteed in relation to these reports'. The reports were to be addressed to AB Edwards 'and marked Personal and Strictly Confidential so that they will not be opened with the usual mail nor left exposed at any time to officers except those directly concerned with the particular client.' The 'clients' were young people who were State Wards, including child migrants.
Prepared by: Debra Rosser
Created: 17 January 2013, Last modified: 13 April 2022