The term custodial care is a modern term used to describe a historical type of out-of-home care for people with mental illnesses and intellectual disability. In a custodial care model, a person was not given any treatment to help them improve from their condition at admission. Many children with intellectual disabilities in Western Australian mental hospitals up to the 1960s suffered from custodial care.
Children with intellectual disabilities who were admitted to mental hospitals were thought to be incurable so the responsibility of the institution was to keep them in custody for their own protection and the protection of society.
Sources used to compile this entry: Ellis, A.S., Eloquent Testimony : the Story of the Mental Health Services in Western Australia, 1830-1975, University of Western Australia Press, Nedlands, Western Australia, 1984. p.87.; Megahey, Norman, 'Living in Fremantle Asylum: The Colonial Experience of Disability 1829-1900', in Errol Cocks (ed.), Under blue skies : the social construction of intellectual disability in Western Australia, Centre for Disability Research and Development, Faculty of Health and Human Sciences, Edith Cowan University, Perth, 1996, pp. 13-52. p.22..
Prepared by: Debra Rosser
Created: 18 April 2013, Last modified: 2 March 2015