Series VPRS 16684
Maternal and Child Health Services (Infant Welfare) Publications and Resources
About this Series Related Series Accessing the records in this Series
Date Range: Series Circa 1930 - 2009
  Series in Custody Circa 1930 - 2009
  Contents Circa 1930 - 2009
Public Access: Open
Location: North Melbourne
Format of Records: Physical
Agency which created this SeriesAgency which created this Series
Display entries per page
Date Range Agency Title Agency Number
1930 - 1944 Department of Public Health VA 2904
1944 - 1978 Department of Health I VA 695
1978 - 1985 Health Commission of Victoria VA 652
1985 - 1992 Department of Community Services (also known as Community Services Victoria) VA 2633
1992 - 1996 Department of Health and Community Services VA 3092
1996 - 2007 Department of Human Services VA 3970
2007 - 2009 Department of Education and Early Childhood Development VA 4840
Agency currently responsible for this SeriesAgency currently responsible for this Series
Display entries per page
Date Range Agency Title Agency Number
2007 - cont Department of Education and Early Childhood Development VA 4840
Description of this SeriesDescription of this Series
  • How to use the Records
    Browse the list of records to identify items of interest.

    The following information has been recorded where available:
    * Title of publication
    * Descriptive information about publication
    * Publisher Details
    * Date of publication

  • Function / Content

    The Maternal and Child Health Service (Infant Welfare) began in Victoria in 1917 when, in response to high levels of infant morbidity and mortality, the first voluntary infant welfare centres began to emerge. The first centres were established in Richmond and Carlton and received a Council subsidy.

    Other volunteer centres soon followed and in 1918 the Victorian Baby Health Centres Association was formed. The Minister of Health approved an annual Government subsidy on the condition that the local council matched the amount. The centres provided advice on the management of the well baby, including nutrition and food preparation. The sisters conducted home visits and expectant mothers were also welcomed at the centres. The Association set up a training school with a program for double-certificated nurses. Successful candidates were entitled to take charge of an infant welfare centre. By 1925 the voluntary Infant Welfare Association had established 71 centres in Local Governments with 52 nurses employed.

    In 1925 the Government appointed a Royal Commission to enquire into the welfare of women and children in Victoria, with Dr. Vera Scantlebury and Dr. Henrietta Main appointed to create a survey and report their findings and recommendations. As a result the Government created the Infant Welfare Section in the Department of Public Health (VA 2904) in 1926. The Infant Welfare section was responsible for implementing government policy in relation to infant welfare and in partnership with Local Government funded and monitored the Infant Welfare Centres across Victoria. It operated in within a legislative framework that included the requirements of the Births Notification Act 1930 (No. 3888).

    Recommendations of the Commission included the appointment of a Medical Director of Infant Welfare, the mandatory notification of all births to local Municipal Officers within 48 hours and recommendations that a specific training course for nurses wishing to undertake infant welfare work be instituted. The first proposed link with medical education was that medical students should attend mothercraft training centres for instruction during their undergraduate training. All of the above recommendations were implemented and Dr. Vera Scantlebury was appointed as the first Director of Infant Welfare.

    In 1934 the Victorian Baby Health Centres Association established a Mobile Infant Welfare Service for country mothers. In the early 1940s the Department of Health (VA 695) began its Mobile Service. Vans were used as mobile centres as well as providing accommodation for the nurses on the circuit. By the early 1950s the Department of Health had set up Mobile services in seven areas of the State, four of which were still operating in 1976.

    The Maternal and Child Health Service continues as a free service for families with children aged from birth to six years of age, with a focus on the health, development and wellbeing of children and their families. After many machinery of Government changes over the years the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development is currently responsible for the Statewide Maternal and Child Health Service.

    The Service currently has three major components; centre-based services, outreach/home visiting services (Enhanced Maternal and Child Health Service) and a 24 hour telephone advisory service (Maternal and Child Health Line). The service continues to be provided by registered nurses with midwifery and maternal and child health qualifications.

    P1 - Printed Parent Information

    This consignment consists of leaflets, pamphlets and booklets on a range of subjects related to health and development, nutrition, parenting education and pregnancy. The dates of publication range from 1936 to 2001. The 'Jublilee Conference on Maternal and Child Health' paper located in the P2 consignment of this series refers to leaflets on 'general management' being sent out monthly as part of the Infant Welfare section's Correspondence Service. Content from this consignment could be copies of some of this material.

    Some of the leaflets contain a Government printer's number such as 4907/49. The second number refers to the year of printing - some leaflets were revised and printed at later dates.

    P2 - Various Publications

    This consignment includes a range of publications and resource material such as a text book/guide, a copy of a 50th Jubilee conference paper, Maternal and Child Health program standards, standards of professional practice and examples of 'Your Child's Personal Health Record' dating from 1979 to the late 1990s. The Personal Health Records were distributed to parents on enrolment in the Maternal and Child Health (Infant Welfare) Service. From the late 1990's a new comprehensive Child Health Record was introduced with more information, particularly about child development. They were distributed on discharge from hospital and there are samples from 2001-2008. The 2008 edition was published by the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development as part of a machinery of Government Change.

    P3 - Framed Posters

    This consignment consists of four large framed posters designed for display in infant welfare centres. The posters provided advice for parents on subjects such as vision and care of the eyes, sleeping and the benefits of night air, and preparing for school. It's possible that they were developed in the 1940s for the newly created school nursing service, when vision and hearing screening of children was introduced (school nurses worked in schools from 1913 to the 1940s as part of the school medical service).

  • Recordkeeping System
    No formal recordkeeping system.

More research resourcesMore research resources
Indexes and RegistersIndexes and Registers
Display entries per page
Date Range Series Title Series Number
Controlled SeriesControlled Series
Display entries per page
Date Range Series Title Series Number
Previous SeriesPrevious Series
Display entries per page
Transfer Date Series Title Series Number
Subsequent SeriesSubsequent Series
Display entries per page
Transfer Date Series Title Series Number
List/s of records in this seriesList/s of records in this series
Display entries per page
Consignment Number Contents Date Range Public Access No. of Units
P0001 1934 - 2009 Open 4
P0002 1943 - 2008 Open 4
P0003 Circa 1930 - Circa 1950 Open 4
Indexes and RegistersIndexes and Registers
Display entries per page
Date Range Series Title Series Number
More research resourcesMore research resources