Agency VA 946
Social Welfare Department
About this Agency Records Related Functions Related Agencies
Date Range: 1971 - 1979
Description of this AgencyDescription of this Agency

On December 22 1970, under the provisions of the Social Welfare Act 1970 (No.8089), a Minister for Social Welfare was appointed. Following proclamation of the Act on 5 January 1971 the Social Welfare Department was established as a Department of State. The purposes for which the Department was established were specified in Part I, section 5 of the Act:

For strengthening and expanding all existing services provided by and through the Government of Victoria for the social welfare of the community and providing further services, for co-ordinating the activities of Government municipal and voluntary organizations engaged in social work in the community and planning the effective use of their resources, for advancing the interests of deprived or underprivileged children, young persons, and adults by modern methods and treatment, for providing and maintaining training and research facilities for or towards any of the purposes of this Act and for the better promotion and development of services organizations and institutions relating to the social welfare of the community and in particular of children and young persons there shall be a Department of State called the `Social Welfare Department'...

Administered by a Director-General of Social Welfare, the Department assumed responsibility for all functions previously administered by the Social Welfare Branch, Chief Secretary's Department (VA 2784) and continued the Divisional structure which had existed in the Branch. The Department also assumed responsibility for school attendance regulation from the Education Department. In 1971 the Department assumed responsibility for funding children's homes from the Department of Health (VA 695).

Divisions and Functions

The seven major divisions and the functions for which they had responsibility were:

Family Welfare Division

This Division was responsible for maintaining and upgrading various forms of substitute care for children and for the development of preventative family support services aimed at reducing the necessity for long-term substitute care. Functions included:

promotion and development of family welfare
co-ordination of voluntary organizations, Government departments, and persons concerned with provision of welfare services for families
control and supervision of children and young persons in need of care and protection, including wardship, foster care, adoption, protection of infants, child employment, and child migrant welfare
management and supervision of children's homes and reception centres
family assistance (financial) and family counselling.

Youth Welfare Division

The functions of this Division, which was responsible for the placement, supervision, detention and welfare of young persons, included:

administration of remand centres, youth training centres and youth hostels
provision of youth welfare services, including work-release programs, and community service activities.

Prisons Division

The Prisons Division had been initially established under the Social Welfare Act 1960 to carry out 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.

Following the reconstitution of the Social Welfare Branch as the Social Welfare Department under the Social Welfare Act 1970 (No.8089) the Prisons Division became responsible for two new functions:

to provide welfare services to prisoners and their families
to assist and promote co-operation between organizations and Government departments concerned with the welfare and aftercare of prisoners.

These new functions saw the Division provide additional support services for prisoners and their families.

The Division also became responsible for work release programs in 1975 and for the control of attendance centres, which were progressively opened from 1976 and offered an alternative to full-time imprisonment. These services, together with the employment of social workers to service all prisons, reflected a redefinition of Government policy to include non-custodial correctional services and a greater emphasis on rehabilitation.

When the Prisons Division ceased operation in January 1979 with the proclamation of the Community Welfare Services Act 1978 (No.9248), the Correctional Services Division of the new Department of Community Welfare Services assumed responsibility for its functions.

For further information about the administration of prisons and correctional services, see also VRG 9 Prisons and Youth Training Centres and VRG 93 Corrections.

Probation and Parole Division

This Division was responsible for the central administration of adult and youth probation and parole services, in conjunction with the Adult Parole Board and the Youth Parole Board, for Children's Court probation services and for the provision of these services in the inner-metropolitan district. Provision of these services in country and outer-metropolitan regions was increasingly undertaken by the Regional Services Division.

Regional Services Division

From the establishment of the Department in 1971, increasingly greater emphasis was placed on the regionalisation of social welfare services. This Division became responsible for the provision of many social welfare services in country and metropolitan areas emphasizing the planning and development of community services at a regional and local level. In particular this Division became responsible for the provision of probation and parole services and (from 1976) for the administration of the foster care programme.

Research and Statistics Division

This Division collated departmental statistics and undertook research projects related to social welfare matters.

Training Division

This Division was responsible for the provision of in-service, pre-service, and volunteer training programmes for prison, child care, youth and family welfare workers.

Establishment of the Community Welfare Services Department

Under provisions of the Community Welfare Services Act 1978 the Social Welfare Department became known, in 1979, as the Department of Community Welfare Services and all functions of the former Department were assumed by the new Department.

Location of Records

For records of the Social Welfare Department see 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 8 Health and Welfare Agencies and VRG 9 Prisons and Youth Training Centres for the records of individual institutions.

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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 44  Go To First Page Of List Go To Previous Page Of List of 3 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
? 1947 - ? 1989 Child Migration Files VPRS 10092 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
1856 - 1972 Visiting Justice's Charge Sheets and Reports VPRS 10114 North Melbourne Part Open
1905 - 1972 Infant Life Protection Register- Applications to Board Out Infants - State Ward and Non-Ward Infants VPRS 17823 North Melbourne Part Open
1920 - 1984 Register of Ward Deaths VPRS 18194 North Melbourne Closed
1929 - 1976 State Ward and Non Ward Adoption Register VPRS 17830 North Melbourne Closed
1939 - 1992 Ward Adoption Register - Placed with a view to Adoption (PVA) VPRS 17833 North Melbourne Closed
1948 - 1985 Male Prisoner Index Cards VPRS 11765 North Melbourne Closed
1952 - 1993 Adoptions & Permanent Care Unit - Various Registers VPRS 18027 North Melbourne Closed
1956 - 1985 Male Prisoner Registration Cards (Annual Single Number Series), See VPRS 11510 VPRS 11509 North Melbourne Not Applicable
1958 - 1974 Register of Applications, Section 20 (Admissions of Children to the Care of the Department) VPRS 18195 North Melbourne Closed
1959 - 1983 Prisoner Classification Number Register VPRS 11898 North Melbourne Closed
1960 - 1978 Client Management Records, Family and Youth Welfare Division VPRS 17954 North Melbourne Closed
1961 - 1978 Client Case Files, Youth Welfare Division (Social Welfare Branch 1961 - 1971; Social Welfare Department 1971 - 1978) VPRS 16747 North Melbourne Closed
1961 - 1984 Admissions, Family Welfare Division/Family and Adolescent Services Division VPRS 18206 North Melbourne Closed
1961 - 1990 Trainee Record Cards (Youth Welfare Division) VPRS 17863 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
1971 - 1979 Welfare services (pre-school children) VF 251
1971 - 1979 Welfare services VF 252
1971 - 1979 Probation and parole services (youth) VF 93
1971 - 1979 Probation and parole services (adult) VF 190
1971 - 1979 Employment of children VF 267
1971 - 1979 Child maintenance (financial allowances for) VF 424
1971 - 1979 Juvenile delinquents, detention and welfare of VF 450
1971 - 1979 Prisons and youth training centres VF 13
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
1960 - 1970 Chief Secretary's Department VA 475
Subordinate AgenciesSubordinate Agencies
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Date of Relationship Agency Title Agency Number
1971 - 1975 McLeod Training Centre [also known as French Island Reformatory Prison; McLeod Prison Farm] VA 2682
1971 - 1979 Malmsbury Youth Justice Centre (previously known as Malmsbury Youth Training Centre 1965-1993; Malmsbury Juvenile Justice Centre 1993-2007) (Education Centre No.4958) ) VA 3960
1971 - 1979 Her Majesty's Prison, Morwell River (known as Morwell River Reforestation Prison 1961 - 1997) VA 4105
1971 - 1979 Winlaton Youth Training Centre (formerly Winlaton Juvenile School 1956-1962) VA 5093
1971 - 1979 Lutheran Children's Home (also known as Lutheran Peace Memorial Children's Home) VA 5098
1971 - 1979 The Gables VA 5099
1971 - 1979 Ashendene Boys' Home VA 5100
1971 - 1979 Hillside Boys Home VA 5102
1971 - 1979 His Majesty's Gaol, Pentridge (known as Pentridge Prison) VA 863
1971 - 1979 Fairlea Female Prison VA 926
1971 - 1979 Turana Youth Training Centre (previously known as Turana Reception Centre 1955-1968; Turana Juvenile School 1957-1962) VA 971
1971 - 1979 Sale Prison [also known as Sale Gaol] VA 982
Related AgenciesRelated Agencies
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Groups containing this AgencyGroups containing this Agency
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Date of Relationship Group Title Group Number
1971 - 1979 Community Welfare Services VRG 60