|Description of this GroupDescription of this Group|
Establishment of the Community Services Portfolio
In March 1985 a Minister for Community Services was appointed and assumed responsibility for all community welfare programmes administered by the Minister for Community Welfare (VRG 60).
The appointment of the new Minister was part of a major reorganisation of the administration of health, community welfare and correctional services programmes in Victoria. The Attorney General (VRG 19) became responsible for the administration of prisons and adult correctional services which had remained a responsibility of the Minister for Community Welfare Services when the Office of Corrections (VA 1063) was established in 1983. The establishment of that Office had represented a complete administrative separation of adult correctional services from other community welfare programmes including the administration of institutions and correctional services for juvenile offenders.
Transfer of Functions from the Minister for Community Welfare Services
The prime functions for which responsibility was assumed from the Minister for Community Welfare Services in March 1985 included:
family and community services including provision of community information, funding of community services, disaster welfare support, adoptions, low-income concessions, home care programs, emergency housing, women's refuges, central administration of institutional services such as remand, reception and youth training centres, regional welfare and residential services
protective and substitute care including child protection services, school attendance regulation, substitute care such as residential care centres, youth hostels, foster care, youth services and refugee and migrant children's services
social policy and planning and the
training of community welfare workers.
Transfer of Functions from the Minister of Health
Following a review of the provision of health services many services which had been traditionally regarded as health services were redefined as community services and responsibility for these functions was transferred to the Minister for Community Services.
In May 1985 the Minister for Community Services became responsible for pre-school services including the administration of pre-school centres, child minding centres and services for the care of pre-school children (other than those which catered exclusively for intellectually disabled pre-school children). (See also VA 2868 Committee of Review of Early Childhood Services.)
On 1 October 1985, the Minister for Community Services became responsible for the administration of the Office of Intellectual Disability Services and thus for the administration of programmes and institutions providing services to intellectually disabled adults and children. These services had previously been provided by the Mental Retardation Division of the Health Commission (VA 2577) and very briefly by the Department of Health II (VA 2695).
Also on 1 October 1985, the Minister for Community Services became responsible for family health services these being services provided by Visiting Child Health Nurses, Early Childhood Development Co-ordinators, the Infant Welfare Service and family planning services; the provision of support for organisations which provide services for the physically, sensorily and intellectually disabled and domiciliary care services including administrative support for organisations which provide domiciliary care including home help, specific home help, day centres, senior citizens centres, home handy persons and Welfare Officers for the Aged, but excluding domiciliary nursing, home nursing services, nursing homes and hostels for the aged.
The Minister for Community Services also became responsible for the administration of a number of benevolent societies and institutions listed in Schedule Two of Administrative Arrangements Order (No.37) 1095. The institutions and organisations listed provide services to children, families, the aged and people with physical and sensory disabilities.
Although these arrangements were initially executed under the provisions of a series of Administrative Arrangement Orders, these were subsequently revoked and the transfers of functions were validated under the provisions of the Health Amendment Act 1986 (No.10262).
For further information about the administration of these services prior to their transfer to the Minister of Community Services, see VRG 39 Health.
The major functions for which the Minister of Community Services is responsible include:
Youth Support Programmes including responsibility for youth training centres and community based youth correctional services such as youth welfare services, youth attendance orders, probation and parole (the latter two being administered in conjunction with the Youth Parole Board) and court advisory services. These services also include provision of youth accommodation and support and employment access programmes.
Community Support Programmes including home and community care, services to sensorily and physically disabled people, accommodation assistance including women's refuges and accommodation for homeless persons, a community support and development grant programme, neighbourhood houses and community information.
Family and Children's Services including Child Development and Care which comprises services encompassing kindergartens, play centres, toddler groups, state day nurseries, field officers, registration of child minding centres and responsibility for play groups associations, the Aboriginal Assistance Scheme, out-of-school homes care, and liaison with the Commonwealth Children's Services Programme. These services also include Family Health and Support programmes which are responsible for maternal and child health, visiting child health nurses, family planning, family counselling, financial counselling, family aide services, family support centres and services to families with special needs.
Extended Family Care includes programmes to help families who are experiencing considerable difficulties in caring for their children and includes residential child care and foster care. It also includes responsibility for children placed in permanent care, refugee minors, adoption and the monitoring of grants and subsidies to non-Government organisations. Child protection services include protection services and the statutory supervision and guardianship of children and until 1987 included the regulation of school attendance and the employment of children.
Intellectual Disability Services including early childhood and early intervention services, vocational services, residential care in centres known variously as training centres, hostels and community centres, and community support services. The transfer of this responsibility to the Minister for Community Services represented a significant change in the way services to the intellectually disabled were regarded by Government and was in accord with existing policies which emphasised the importance of providing services which would allow disabled people to live as independently as possible within the community.
Many of these services are provided on a regional basis and there is a Regional Services Division within the Department of Community Services (VA 2633) which is responsible for the delivery of services through Community Services Victoria regional offices and facilities, local government, non-government agencies and the community sector.
The Minister for Community Services is also responsible for social policy, planning and research and for the training and certification of child care, youth and welfare workers.
Machinery of Government Change
Following the re-election of the Kennett Government in April 1996 a Youth and Community Services portfolio was established with the appointment of a Minister for Youth and Community Services. This portfolio comprises the whole of the former Community Services portfolio.
Location of Records
While no records of this group have yet been transferred to the custody of the Public Record Office, researchers are advised to consult the following sections of the List of Holdings 2nd edition 1985 for records of preceding groups and agencies:
Section 3.5.1 Department of Community Welfare Services
3.5.2 Pre-school and Child Development Branch
3.5.3 Mental Retardation Division
3.5.7 Child Welfare Practices and Legislation Review Committee
3.5.6 Youth Parole Board.
See also VRG 39 Health and section 3.11.0 of the List of Holdings. For records of individual institutions see VRG 8 Health and Welfare Agencies and VRG 9 Prisons and Youth Training Centres and sections 8.0.0 and 13.0.0 of the List of Holdings.
Minister for Community Services 1985-1996.