Series VPRS 18027
Adoptions & Permanent Care Unit - Various Registers
About this Series Related Series Accessing the records in this Series
Date Range: Series 1952 - 1993
  Series in Custody 1952 - 1993
  Contents 1952 - 1993
Public Access: Closed
Location: North Melbourne
Format of Records: Physical
Agency which created this SeriesAgency which created this Series
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Date Range Agency Title Agency Number
1952 - 1961 Children's Welfare Department 1924-1961 (previously known as Department for Neglected Children 1887-1924), Chief Secretary's Department VA 1467
1961 - 1971 Social Welfare Branch, Chief Secretary's Department VA 2784
1971 - 1979 Social Welfare Department VA 946
1979 - 1985 Department of Community Welfare Services VA 613
1985 - 1992 Department of Community Services (also known as Community Services Victoria) VA 2633
1992 - 1993 Department of Health II (commonly known as the Health Department Victoria) VA 2695
Agency currently responsible for this SeriesAgency currently responsible for this Series
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Date Range Agency Title Agency Number
2015 - cont Department of Health and Human Services VA 5037
Description of this SeriesDescription of this Series
  • How to use the Records
    Refer to the list of records in this series.

  • Function / Content
    This is an artificially created series. The volumes have been brought together as a collection of administrative registers which were used by the administration unit within the Department of Community Services Victoria for the purpose of recording details relating to enquiries regarding adoption, applications and arrangements for individual adoption cases, and details of finalised adoption cases.

    The collection of registers includes:

    - Ward / Non-Ward Cases Finalised Adoptions
    - Protestant Register of Adoption Applications
    - Adoption Enquiries
    - Placement Meetings
    - Ward Dispensations Register
    - Legalizations referred by PCU [Permanent Care Unit]

    The registers were later used by the Adoption Information Service as a reference resource for assisting individuals enquiring about past adoptions.

    The Adoption Information Service (AIS) was established by the Department in 1985 to assist people who had been separated by adoption, and who wanted to receive information or contact each other. The AIS provided a service whereby individuals could place their name on an information register, to obtain information and to make contact. The service also offered counselling and intermediary services. The Adoption Information Service Unit later became the Family Information Network Discovery service, which continues to provide similar services to individuals affected by adoption and out of home care.

    Volume 1: Ward and Non-Ward Cases Finalised Register

    Although the title of the register suggests that the register was maintained to record finalised cases, it has not been determined when the details were entered and, therefore, what the exact function of the register was. There does not appear to be any recognised pattern of entry in the volume, particularly in the various aspects usually documented in the management of adoption cases: by date of placement, case lodgement at court, date of birth, court order, court hearing or costs received. There is no known index to the volume. Entries are numbered from 1 through to 1070, with a date range of 1969 to 1972.

    The register usually includes a register entry number, child and applicant's names, applicant address, dates on which costs were received, affidavits, sworn, the court hearing, and the date on which the adoption order was granted.

    Information recorded includes: ward number or file number (eg: 68/83 file number or 87575 ward number), child's name, surname and residence of person applying to adopt the child, applicant's surname, date of receipt of court costs and date of lodging of application at court, place and date of hearing and date of granting of adoption order, name of judge granting the order.

    Volume 2: Protestant Register of Adoption Applicants

    The volume is a register of applicants who have applied to adopt a child / children, who have been identified as being of the Protestant faith. There is an alphabetical index to entries at the front of the volume, arranged by surname of the applicant. The applicant numbers range between 25001 and 26240, dating from January 1952 through to July 1963. It is not clear why the applicant numbers commence at 25001. It is possible that the sequence of applicant numbers began at random, and does not necessarily reflect the actual number of adoption applicants.

    The register includes an applicant entry number, applicant's name and address, family (age and sex of natural children of the applicant), religion (Church of England, Presbyterian, Methodist), preferred age and sex of child applied for, the name, sex and age of the child / children selected, date offered, date placed, and remarks (eg: home satisfactory, not recommended, child returned).

    Occasionally, application was made for a specific child, eg: a niece, grandchildren, or a child already in the care of the applicants.

    It appears to have been a practice of the Department to send a certain number of children to Protestant families and corresponding numbers to Catholic families. There are references to a register for Catholic applicants within this register, but the location of this register is not known.

    Volume 3: Adoption Enquiries

    This volume records all applications received by the Adoption section in December 1975. Given that such a large number of enquiries were received in one month, it is believed that there may have been a media campaign at this time. Entries start at number 101 and continue through to number 1468. Entries are arranged by date of receipt of enquiry, from 3/12/1975 to 14/1/1976.

    The register has an internal alphabetical index at the front of the volume, which provides reference to the entry number within the volume.

    The contents include an entry number, applicant name and address, dates of receipt of application, date of acknowledgement, whether the enquiry was received by letter or phone, by whom acknowledgement was given (ie: initials of the officer responding to the enquiry), notes regarding the action taken (eg: proceed, refer file no. , withdrawn, rejected, hold-Mrs Pregnant) and initials of the social worker dealing with the case).

    Volume 4: Placement Meetings

    The Register was maintained by the Adoption and Permanent Care Unit administration staff of the Department of Community Welfare Services, to document weekly placement meetings, recording the initial linking and matching of children requiring out of home care, and applications from care providers.

    The volume includes Placement Meetings from 12 May 1975 through to 4 March 1982.

    Pages are titled: 'Placement Meeting', together with the meeting date.

    The information recorded for each meeting varies over time, but can include: the file number of the ward or non-ward (eg: 92472) or the case file number (eg: 76/112), the child's name, date of opening of case, applicants' surname, applicant's residence (suburb or locality), name of social worker, and action required (eg: proceed to introduction, liaise further, suggest child, and if suitable to process, tentative link). Some placement meetings were held with other agencies, to link children and adoptive applicants.

    The binding is loose on this volume.

    Volume 5: Dispensations and Consents Granted Registers:

    Two registers maintained by the Adoption and Permanent Care Unit within the Department of Community Welfare Services and predecessor agencies, with a date range of 1966 to 1987. Applications could be made to court to dispense with the need for the natural parents' consent prior to a child's adoption. Dispensation could be granted in cases where the natural parent could not be located, where the parent was not in a fit mental or physical state to consider the issue of adoption, or where the parent had previously neglected or ill-treated the child.

    The contents may include: child's name and date of birth, file number, date application lodged, on what grounds dispensation was sought, whose consent was dispensed with, date of legislation, From 1970, the location of the child was also noted (eg: Allambie, Berry Street, Royal Women's Hospital, The Haven, Hartnett House).

    The first volume contains information regarding dispensation applications and outcome. This volume has also been used in reverse with entries commencing from the back page. The information recorded in the sequence at the reverse of the register includes the number of consents given in dispensation cases, the number of dispensations granted, case planning meetings attended by social workers, adoption case planning meetings for cases which did not proceed for a variety of reasons.

    Volume 5 (1):
    Title handwritten on the front cover listing contents of volume:
    'Consents to Adoption - taken. See Wards Register'.
    'Dispensation of Adoption Consents - granted.'
    1/7/1970 - 30/6/1975
    Dispensations Register. 1/7/70 -
    Handwritten note pasted over the front of the volume reads:

    Front of Book: Dispensation applications and outcome. (in detail)
    Back of Book: Number of consents given in dispensation cases, Number of Dispensations Granted, Case Planning Meetings attended by SWs and Outcome, Case Plan Adoption but Ineligible Children - cases, consents, dispensations, time taken to establish eligibility, case plan changed.'

    Information has been recorded in the volume in a number of different sequences:

    i) Consents Taken and Dispensation of Adoption Consents Granted. The first page records Non-Wards Adoption - Case number, child's name, date of birth and religion, and any other notes. Entries date range from date of birth 25/12/1961 to 21/9/1967. A key on the opposite page provides reasons for granting of dispensation under Section 29 of the Adoption Act.

    (ii) Dispensations under Section 29 (2) of the Act for financial years from July 1967 to July 1970. Information recorded: name of child and date of birth, file number, date of lodgement of dispensation application with the court, the date of granting of a dispensation order, name of Judge granting the dispensation order, grounds for dispensation, whose dispensation sought - mother or father of the child.

    iii) List of consents taken and dispensations granted for the years 1/7/1970 through to 30/6/1985

    iv) Case Planning Meetings 23/11/1981 to 28/6/1983

    Information recorded: Date of meeting, name and age of child, Outcome of meeting and Region allocated to.

    Outcome records any action to be taken by Regional staff, eg: 'Regional review', 'Psychological assessment'.

    v) Statistics Table: statistics compiled by administration staff recording the number of consents in dispensation cases and the number of dispensations granted, for the years 1/7/1980 through to 30/6/1983.

    vi) Case Plan Adoption but Ineligible Cases: used by administration team to manage the adoption applications for children and determination of eligibility for adoption, including managing the process of seeking consent or dispensation of consent for adoption of the child, list of Ineligible applicants 1/7/1979 - 30/6/1983.

    Information recorded: name and date of birth of child, ward number or file number, the date that the case was opened or accepted by the Case Planning Response team, the Region within the Department responsible for the case, date consent received and from whom (mother or father), date dispensation of consent granted and relating to whom (mother or father), the date from which the child was fully eligible for adoption, the time taken for the child to become fully eligible for adoption, Case Plan date.

    vii) Case Planning Meetings regarding dispensations, attended by social workers in Regional Centres Entries date from 3 July 1980 to 16 February 1981.

    viii) Statistics Table: statistics compiled by administration staff recording the number of consents in dispensation cases, and the number of dispensations granted, for the years 1/7/1979 through to 30/6/1982.

    Volume 5 (2): Volume titled Adoption and Permanent Care. Dispensations. Legal Status Unit Referrals. - July 1987. Referrals to LSU handwritten on first page. Volume used by administration staff to track the legal status of each application. Information recorded includes date of referral to unit, name and date of birth of child, ward number or file number. Status of child either 'Ex' for'Ex-Nuptial' or 'N' denoting 'Nuptial', name of the current carer or details of current placement, date of allocation of the case and the worker assigned to manage the case, dates of consent , date dispensation granted, date of agreement, date of application approval, date application approved to proceed to court, date of legislation of adoption. Entries arranged by date of referral of case, from 15/12/1986 to 30/7/1993.

    Volume 6: Legalizations referred by PCU [Permanent Care Unit]

    One register maintained by the Adoption and Permanent Care Unit to manage administration of the legalization of adoptions by the court. Title on cover: Legislations. Referred by Regional P.C.U. On Finalisation Advise Team Leader for Stats.

    Information recorded includes: Date of referral [referral of case to the administration unit], child's name and number [file number or ward number], applicants' name and number [file number], date questionnaire sent to the applicant, date applicant affidavit sent, date application lodged at court, date of court order granting dispensation, comments, workers [name or initials of Departmental officer or social worker managing the case. This can also be recorded as the name of the adoption agency managing the application].

    It is not clear what the information regarding the 'questionnaire' refers to. It is assumed that the questionnaire is sent to the applicant, and the applicant's response to the questionnaire is sent to the court in the form of an affidavit as part of the adoption application documentation.

  • Recordkeeping System
    The registers do not have any original numbering system, as they are separate records brought together to form an artificial collection. The numbering system has been imposed on the volumes at the time of archiving as a control to the records.

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