Series VPRS 18069
Voluntary Children's Homes Files
About this Series Related Series Accessing the records in this Series
Date Range: Series 1975 - 2001
  Series in Custody 1975 - 2001
  Contents 1919 - 2001
Public Access: Part Open
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
1975 - 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 - 1996 Department of Health and Community Services VA 3092
1996 - 2001 Department of Human Services VA 3970
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
    Consult the list of records in this series to locate the relevant file of interest

  • Function / Content
    Under the provisions of the Infant Life Protection Act 1890 the Chief Commissioner of Police was vested in 1890 with responsibility for the registration of homes used for the purpose of nursing, maintaining and adopting infants. This function was previously undertaken by local councils in their capacity as Local Boards of Health.

    In 1907 a subsequent Infant Life Protection Act 1907 transferred responsibility for this function to the Department for Neglected Children, later known as the Children's Welfare Department (VA 1467) in the Chief Secretary's Department

    The Children's Welfare Act 1954 (No. 5817) required non-government children's institutions to be registered with the Children's Welfare Department; they were subject to Departmental inspection.

    As a result of the passage of the Social Welfare Act 1960 (No. 6651.), the Social Welfare Branch within the Chief Secretary's Department (VA 2784) assumed responsibility for functions previously administered by the Children's Welfare Department (VA 1467). Among other things, the Branch became responsible for the management and supervision of children's homes and reception centres. The Family Welfare Division of the Branch took over most of the functions of the Children's Welfare Department. On 1 July 1961, all Children's Homes came under the Children's Home Section.

    Under the provisions of the Social Welfare Act 1970 (No. 8089) which came into operation on 5 January 1971, the Social Welfare Branch was reconstituted as the Social Welfare Department (VA 946). The new department continued to manage and supervise children's homes. It assumed responsibility for funding children's homes from the Department of Health (VA 695).

    In 1978 the Children's Home Section was disbanded and all fieldwork transferred to Regional Centres. In December 1982, Government committed, via a Ministerial statement, to redeploy funds from large-scale institutions to alternative community based family care arrangements.

    The series document the interaction between the various Voluntary Homes and Department.

    There are often several files registered for an agency. Information within files may include: placements, newspaper extracts, annual reports, newsletters, declarations regarding the establishment of an Approved Children's Home, holiday placements for State Wards, allegations of abuse against children, lists of children's names for placement, inspectors' reports, research studies, applications for grants, reports from interviews with staff, and progress reports of programs.

    Several of the Homes documented in these files were approved as private adoption agencies. This occurred as a result of the Adoption of Children Act 1964. Up until then the Department had no legislative mandate to be involved in the adoption field beyond making adoption applications on behalf of its own State Wards.


    The following facilities were managed by the Mental Health Authority but have been included with the Voluntary Homes:

    Pleasant Creek Training Centre; Sandhurst Training Centre; and the Royal Talbot Colony / Rehabilitation Centre.These governent run centres were a different category to the other organisations included in these files. A possible rationale for including facilities run by the Mental Health Authority, is that they were also not managed by the Department of Community Services, which developed this filing system.

  • Recordkeeping System
    Files have been registered in a multiple number system with a VH prefix. The letters VH stand for Voluntary Home. The first number is the number that was given to that Home by the Department of Social Welfare.


    The content of this series were removed from an old filing system in 1975 and migrated into the then Department of Community Services' files. Therefore the contents of the files are much older then the year this filing system was established.

    The record labels reflect the Total Record Information Management (TRIM) electronic document and records management numbering system imposed by the Department following their transfer from the agency to Archival Services. The first number refers to the year of transfer. The second number refers to the accession number within that year. The third number refers to the box number. The fourth number refers to the item number.

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Controlled SeriesControlled Series
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List/s of records in this seriesList/s of records in this series
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Consignment Number Contents Date Range Public Access No. of Units
P0001 1937 - 1990 Open 13
P0002 1919 - 2001 Closed 30
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