Group VRG 60
Community Welfare Services
About this Group Related Agencies Related Functions
Date Range: 1970 - 1985
Description of this GroupDescription of this Group

Until 1970 the Chief Secretary (VRG 26) had been responsible for the administration of the prison system, probation and parole programmes and social welfare including family welfare, youth welfare, social policy and research and the training of welfare workers. In December 1970 a Minister for Social Welfare was appointed and assumed responsibility for the administration of social welfare functions from the Chief Secretary.

Functions Transferred to the Minister of Social Welfare

The major areas of responsibility transferred to the Minister of Social Welfare were:
Family Welfare, including:
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 wardship, foster care, adoption, protection of infants, child employment, and child migrant welfare
management and supervision of childrens' homes and reception centres
family assistance (financial) and family counselling.

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

Prison Services, including:
administration of prisons and attendance centres
provision of treatment and welfare services

Probation and Parole Services, including:
administration of adult and youth probation and parole
Children's Court probation services

Social Policy and Research, including:
social policy development and social planning
research on social issues and the collection of statistics

Training, including:
training and certification of persons working in government and non-government welfare work including child care, youth work, welfare work and prison services and the training of honorary probation officers and volunteer workers.

In 1971 the Minister also assumed responsibility for the regulation of school attendance from the Minister of Education (VRG 35) and for the funding of children's homes from the Minister of Health (VRG 39).

Changes in the Administration of Social Welfare

During the 1970's there was a major review and redefinition of the Government's policy and priorities in the administration of social welfare. A Family and Community Services (FACS) Programme was developed in 1975 which "acted as a catalyst for the re-examination of overall social welfare functions in Victoria, leading to the preparation of a detailed White Paper on the future of social welfare in Victoria (1978) and the drafting of the Community Welfare Services Act 1978" (No.9248) (Victorian Year Book 1984).

The legislation was intended to facilitate the development of an integrated system of community-oriented and needs-based welfare services with an emphasis on prevention rather than control of social problems. From February 1979, the Minister for Social Welfare became known as the Minister for Community Welfare Services.

Major changes in the administration of social welfare included:
regionalization of family and community services and an expansion in the provision of such services from those largely concerned with social protection and control to those 'designed to positively strengthen and enhance individual, family and community life' (Victorian Year Book 1984 p.603), including family counselling

a change in the focus of adoption from a service to single mothers and childless couples to a service for children in need of family security

provision of alternatives to institutional care for young offenders and adolescent wards of the state

regionalization of probation and parole services and a redefinition of prison services to include correctional services involving community based attendance centres, community service orders, training and welfare for adolescent and adult offenders as an alternative to detention in institutions

provision of services supporting community based alternatives to institutional living for intellectually disabled persons

establishment of professional training courses for welfare workers.

Child Welfare

A Child Welfare Practice and Legislation Review Committee (VA 2580) was established in 1982. After investigating child welfare practices the committee drafted new child welfare legislation and made recommendations about future strategies and services. The Committee ceased operation in 1984. In 1985 there was a major redefinition of many services that had been traditionally regarded as health services and responsibility for pre-school, child care and family health services was transferred from the Minister of Health to the Minister for Community Services (VRG 80).

Correctional Services from 1983

In 1983 a major review of Victoria's prison system, undertaken by an American consultant J.D. Henderson and Commander P.H. Bennett of the Victoria Police, concluded that the prison system was long overdue for redevelopment. The Office of Corrections (VA 1063) was established by an Order in Council gazetted on 17 August 1983.

Under the provisions of the Community Welfare Services (Director General of Corrections) Act 1983 (No.9966) the Office of Corrections was administratively separated from the Department of Community Welfare Services and the Director General assumed the powers of a Chief Administrator.

The Office of Corrections assumed responsibility for the administration of the prison system and for the provision of adult correctional services which encompass custodial services and facilities and a range of non-custodial services including attendance centre orders, probation orders and community service orders, as well as the post-custodial, pre-release and parole programs. The Office also provides pre-trial and pre-sentence advice to courts.

Responsibility for juvenile correctional services and institutions remained with the Department of Community Welfare Services and a Minister for Community Welfare Services retained responsibility for the Office of Corrections until 1985. For further information about the administration of prisons and correctional services see also VRG 9 Prisons and Youth Training Centres and VRG 93 Corrections.

Establishment of the Community Services portfolio

In March 1985 a Minister for Community Services (VRG 80) was appointed and during that year there were major changes in the allocation of ministerial responsibilities in the areas of health, community welfare and correctional services.

Responsibility for the administration of the Victorian prison system and adult correctional services was transferred to the Attorney General (VRG 19).

The Minister for Community Services assumed responsibility for the administration of all community welfare services from the Minister for Community Welfare Services and for pre-school services and child care centres, family health services including infant welfare, visiting child health nurses and early childhood development programmes, domiciliary care services and services to physically, sensorily and intellectually disabled people from the Minister of Health (VRG 39).

Location of Records

While some operational records have been transferred to the Public Record Office, many records remain out of custody. Researchers are advised to consult the List of Holdings 2nd edition 1985, sections 3.5.0 (Community Services), 3.4.7 (Correctional Services), 3.4.8 (Adult Parole Board), 8.0.0 (Health and Welfare Agencies) and 13.0.0 (Prisons and Youth Training Centres). For records of individual institutions see also VRG 8 Health and Welfare Agencies and VRG 9 Prisons and Youth Training Centres.


Minister for Social Welfare 1970-1979
Minister for Community Welfare Services 1979-1985.

Other InformationOther Information
Agencies within this GroupAgencies within this Group
Display entries per page
Date within Group Agency Title Agency Number Agency Hierarchy
1970 - 1985 Hillside Boys Home VA 5102
1971 - 1979 Social Welfare Department VA 946 Dept. of State
1979 - 1985 Department of Community Welfare Services VA 613 Dept. of State
1983 - 1985 Office of Corrections VA 1063 Sub Department
Functions related to this GroupFunctions related to this Group
Display entries per page
Date within Group Function Title Function Number
1970 - 1985 Welfare services VF 252
1970 - 1985 Employment of children VF 267
1970 - cont Prisons and youth training centres VF 13
1970 - cont Probation and parole services (adult) VF 190
1971 - 1985 School attendance regulation VF 120
- 1985 Prisons and correctional services VF 60