Agency VA 1467
Children's Welfare Department 1924-1961 (previously known as Department for Neglected Children 1887-1924), Chief Secretary's Department
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Date Range: 1887 - 1961
 
Description of this AgencyDescription of this Agency
Establishment

In 1887 the responsibilities of the Department of Industrial and Reformatory Schools (VA 1466) were statutorily separated with the passing of two Acts.The Neglected Children's Act 1887 (No.941) provided for the establishment of a Department for Neglected Children, while the Juvenile Offenders' Act 1887 (No.951) (subsequently repealed and replaced by sections 314 to 369 of the Crimes Act 1890) provided for the establishment of a Department for Reformatory Schools (VA 2963). Although responsibility was statutorily separated in this manner it is evident that the two departments continued to be administered jointly within the Chief Secretary's Department (VA 475).

Functions of the Department

The main responsibility of the Department for Neglected Children was the maintenance and management of neglected children including:

supervision of State wards in receiving houses and probationary schools

provision of trade apprenticeships programs

'boarding out' of children in the service of persons willing to take charge of their maintenance and education

provision of assistance to non-wards.

Under provisions of the Infant Life Protection Act 1907 (No.2102) the Department assumed responsibility in 1907 for the registration of homes providing non-parental care to infants from the Office of the Chief Commissioner of Police (VA 724). In addition, under the Children's Maintenance Act 1919, mothers without sufficient means of support could apply to the Department for financial assistance toward the maintenance of their children, rather than have the children committed to the Department's care.

Establishment of Children's Welfare Department

The Children's Welfare Act 1924 (No.3351), assented to on 1 October 1924, was enacted to rename the Department for Neglected Children as the Children's Welfare Department. The renaming of the Department signified the Government's awareness of the stigma which had become attached to the term 'neglected child', and did not reflect a change in functional responsibility or status. It is evident that the Department for Reformatory Schools continued to be administered jointly with the Children's Welfare Department.

Adoption, Child Migration and Juvenile Offenders

The Children's Welfare Department subsequently became responsible for the adoption of State wards when the Adoption Act 1928 (No.3605) introduced adoption as a legal transfer of parental rights, and became responsible for the regulation of the employment of children in street trading under the provisions of the Street Trading Act 1928.

By delegation from the Commonwealth Minister of Immigration and under the provisions of the Commonwealth Immigration (Guardianship of Children) Act 1946 to 1952, the Director of the Department assumed guardianship of migrants under twenty-one years of age who arrived in Victoria without parents or relatives.

The Children's Welfare Act 1954 (No.5817) provided for the abolition of the Department for Reformatory Schools (VA 2963). Thereafter, responsibility for juvenile offenders and reformatory schools (from 1954 known as juvenile schools) was assumed by the Children's Welfare Department. At this time the supervision of child employment was extended to cover employment of children in public entertainment and in 1956 family group homes were introduced to provide a new type of child care arrangement.

Establishment of the Social Welfare Branch

With the development of Government policy which began to emphasize an integrated approach to social welfare issues and the need for staff training and social research the Social Welfare Branch was established within the Chief Secretary's Department under the provisions of the Social Welfare Act 1960 (No.6651). The Act was proclaimed in stages and the sections concerned with family and child welfare did not become operative until June 1961.

The Social Welfare Branch (VA 2784) assumed responsibility for all functions previously administered by the Children's Welfare Department and the Penal and Gaols Branch (VA 1464).

For further information about institutions for juvenile offenders see VRG 9 Prisons and Youth Training Centres.

Location of Records

For records of the Children's Welfare Department see the List of Holdings 2nd edition 1985, section 3.5.1.. Researchers are also advised to consult 3.16.5 (Chief Secretary's Office), 3.5.5 (Department of Reformatory Schools) and 13.0.0 (Prisons and Youth Training Centres).

 
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    PROVguide060 Adoption, Wardship and Related Records
Record series created by this AgencyRecord series created by this Agency
Displaying 1 to 20 of 31  Go To First Page Of List Go To Previous Page Of List of 2 Go To Next Page Of List Go To Last Page Of List 
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Date Range Series Title Series Number Series Location Public Access
? 1893 - ? 2004 Ward Term Expiry Books (also known as Ward Birthday Books) VPRS 17880 North Melbourne Part Open
? 1906 - 1980 De Facto Adoption Register VPRS 17822 North Melbourne Closed
? 1910 - 1986 Index to Parents of Wards VPRS 17879 North Melbourne Closed
? 1921 - ? 1924 Service Register VPRS 6755 North Melbourne Closed
? 1925 - 1970 Street Trading Board Minute Book VPRS 18192 North Melbourne Open
? 1929 - ? 1952 Registers Of Applications To Make Children Wards (1929-1940) And Applicants To Receive Wards Under Boarding Out Regulations (1930-1952) VPRS 10057 North Melbourne Closed
? 1947 - ? 1989 Child Migration Files VPRS 10092 North Melbourne Closed
? 1949 - ? 1955 Index to VPRS 17822 Defacto Adoption Register VPRS 17842 North Melbourne Closed
? 1950 - ? 1967 Waiting List and Patient Records VPRS 17841 North Melbourne Closed
? 1950 - ? 1977 Maintenance Collection Branch Case Files VPRS 10070 North Melbourne Closed
? 1951 - 1998 Residential Institutions, Building Records, Site Maps and Plans VPRS 17986 North Melbourne Open
1864 - Circa 1966 Index Books to Ward Register VPRS 6757 North Melbourne Part Open
1866 - ? 1960 Index to Crown Solicitor's Opinion Books VPRS 7773 North Melbourne Open
1866 - ? 1960 Crown Solicitor's Opinion Books VPRS 7774 North Melbourne Open
1905 - 1972 Infant Life Protection Register- Applications to Board Out Infants - State Ward and Non-Ward Infants VPRS 17823 North Melbourne Part Open
1908 - ? 1964 Registered Persons Homes Register VPRS 4978 North Melbourne Closed
1920 - 1984 Register of Ward Deaths VPRS 18194 North Melbourne Closed
1925 - 1961 Annual Reports Children's Welfare Department VPRS 5694 North Melbourne Open
1929 - 1954 Death Register, Infant Life Protection (SERIES CANCELLED - REPROCESSED AS VPRS 4980/P1) VPRS 5063 North Melbourne Not Applicable
1929 - 1976 State Ward and Non Ward Adoption Register VPRS 17830 North Melbourne Closed
Functions for which this Agency has or has had primary responsibilityFunctions for which this Agency has or has had primary responsibility
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Date of Responsibility Function Title Function Number
1887 - 1961 Children, neglected, maintenance and education of VF 426
- 1961 Employment of children VF 267
- 1961 Child maintenance (financial allowances for) VF 424
- 1961 Child migrant welfare VF 425
- 1961 Juvenile delinquents, detention and welfare of VF 450
Functions for which this Agency has or has had secondary responsibilityFunctions for which this Agency has or has had secondary responsibility
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Date of Responsibility Function Title Function Number
Superior AgenciesSuperior Agencies
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Date of Relationship Agency Title Agency Number
1887 - 1961 Chief Secretary's Department VA 475
Subordinate AgenciesSubordinate Agencies
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Date of Relationship Agency Title Agency Number
1950 - 1961 Lutheran Children's Home (also known as Lutheran Peace Memorial Children's Home) VA 5098
1955 - 1961 Turana Youth Training Centre (previously known as Turana Reception Centre 1955-1968; Turana Juvenile School 1957-1962) VA 971
1956 - 1960 Winlaton Youth Training Centre (formerly Winlaton Juvenile School 1956-1962) VA 5093
1959 - 1961 Hillside Boys Home VA 5102
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Date of Relationship Agency Title Agency Number
Groups containing this AgencyGroups containing this Agency
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Date of Relationship Group Title Group Number
1887 - 1961 Chief Secretary VRG 26