|Description of this AgencyDescription of this Agency|
The Social Welfare Branch was established within the Chief Secretary's Department (VA 475) under the provisions the Social Welfare Act 1960 (No.6651) which was proclaimed in stages between 6 July 1960 and 21 June 1961. The formation of the Branch represented a linking of the administration of the Children's Welfare Department (VA 1467) and the Penal and Goals Branch (VA 1464) both within the Chief Secretary's Department and arose from a recognition of the need to concentrate on the prevention rather than the mere alleviation of social problems. All functions of the former Children's Welfare Department and Penal and Gaols Branch were assumed by the Social Welfare Branch.
The Branch was administered by a Director-General of Social Welfare who was accountable to the Chief Secretary. Within the Branch, six divisions were established reflecting the new approach of the Government to social problems.
Family Welfare Division
Prior to the establishment of this Division emphasis had mostly been placed on child behaviour rather than on parental neglect. The establishment of this Division acknowledged the dynamics of child/parent relationships and the need for preservation of the family unit. Its major functions were:
promotion and development of family welfare
co-ordination of voluntary organizations, government departments and persons concerned with the provision of welfare services for families
control and supervision of children and young persons in need of care and protection, including foster care, adoption, wardship, infant life protection, child employment and child migrants
management and control of state institutions for the reception and treatment of children and young persons including children's homes and reception centres
provision of aftercare for children and young persons
family assistance (financial)
Youth Welfare Division
The establishment of this Division effectively separated the provision of services to delinquents from services directed at children requiring care and protection and hence acknowledged their different needs. The major functions of this Division were:
administration of youth training centres and remand centres for young offenders
classification of young offenders
treatment and rehabilitation of young offenders
after care of young offenders including accommodation in hostels and employment services
prevention of delinquency through youth work/services programs
Section 16 of the Social Welfare Act 1960 established the Prisons Divisions with two main functions:
to control and supervise all persons imprisoned or detained in any gaol
to assist in the rehabilitation into the community of all persons released or discharged from any gaol.
Prior to the establishment of this division, the control of all prison services had been the responsibility of the Penal and Gaols Branch of the Chief Secretary's Department (VA 1464). The Penal and Gaols Branch had also been responsible for the provision of probation and parole services, however responsibility for these services was assumed by a Probation and Parole Division.
Under the Act, the Prisons Division was administered by a Director of Prisons accountable to the Director General of Social Welfare, who in turn reported to the Minister. The Division was responsible for the accommodation of prisoners, prisoner classification and the provision of prisoner support services such as education and prison industries.
For further information about the administration of prisons and correctional services, see VRG 9 Prisons and Youth Training Centres and VRG 93 Corrections.
Probation and Parole Division
The administration of adult and youth probation and parole services in conjunction with the Adult Parole Board and the Youth Parole Board and the co-ordination of Children's Court probation services were the major responsibilities of this Division. Responsibility for the Children's Court probation services was inherited from the Law Department (VA 2825) in 1960.
Research and Statistics Division
The compilation of statistics and information regarding the Branch and related matters and the encouragement of research into social problems were the major functions of this Division.
This Division was required to plan, supervise and co-ordinate the development of training for prison, childcare, youth and family welfare workers and to supervise the training of children, youths and adults in institutions controlled by the Branch.
Establishment of the Social Welfare Department
Under the provisions of the Social Welfare Act 1970 (No.8089) a Minister for Social Welfare was appointed in 1970 and subsequently, in 1971, a Department of State known as the Social Welfare Department (VA 946) was established and assumed responsibility for all functions previously administered by the Social Welfare Branch.
Location of Records
For records of the Social Welfare Branch see list below and the List of Holdings 2nd edition 1985, section 3.5.1. (Department of Community Services). Researchers are also advised to consult sections 3.4.7. (Prisons Division) 3.4.8. (Adult Parole Board), 3.5.6 (Youth Parole Board) 8.0.0. (Health and Welfare Agencies) and 13.0.0. (Prisons and Youth Training Centres).
See also VRG 9 Prisons and Youth Training Centres and VRG 8 Health and Welfare Agencies for the records of individual institutions.