Appendix 5 - Statistics on children in institutional care

Appendix 5 - Statistics on children in institutional care

5.1 It is difficult to establish with any degree of accuracy the total numbers of children who have been placed in institutional care in Australia in the 19th and 20th centuries. Figures indicate that there have been very substantial numbers during that time. The Committee considers that by extrapolating from available figures the numbers could be up to 500 000 and possibly more.

State wards

5.2 Information on state ward numbers varies among the States. Often the available data is not comprehensive, covers different time periods and has gaps and inconsistencies. Accurate figures are not available because often the data is not split into categories such as numbers already in care, new admissions, departures from care, or other variations. The Victorian Government noted difficulties in establishing accurate numbers due to different practices regarding counting and reporting at different periods in time. Not all children in institutions were state wards, many had been privately admitted and often they were not included in statistics on children in institutions.

5.3 The available information on the numbers of state wards is presented below.

New South Wales

5.4 CLAN provided the figure of 135 000 state wards in NSW between 1883-2001 comprising:

and approximately 100 000 from the beginning of the 20th century to 1975.[780]

5.5 Table 5.1 shows that there were 133 375 children in institutions in NSW from only 1900 to 1940, although this would involve a degree of double counting. Numbers from 1940-2000 could easily be double this number.

Table 5.1: New South Wales - children in institutional care (a)

Time Period

Numbers

1857 - 1899

54 795

1900 - 1909

16 354

1910 - 1919

22 749

1920 - 1929

41 654

1930 - 1940

52 618

Sub Total

133 375

Total

188 170

(a) Includes orphan schools, government industrial schools and reformatories and a variety of religious and secular orphanages and rescue homes.

Source: Dickey B & Suthern K, 'Social Welfare', in Vamplew, W (ed) Australians: Historical Statistics, Fairfax, Syme & Weldon, 1987, p.364.

Victoria

5.6 The Victorian Government stated that the total number of children who became state wards in 1928-2003 was approximately 59 000 (the total number of children who became state wards between 1949 and 2003 was estimated at 48 000).

5.7 Combining the number of state wards (59 000) with those voluntarily placed children who were never made wards, estimated conservatively at 17 000 between 1928 and 1970 (ie an average of 400 new voluntary placements per year) plus detained young people, estimated at 15 000, totals 91 000 children in institutional care in Victoria from 1928-2003. In addition, some children were placed in short-term care by the child protection system who never became wards, and some young offenders were remanded in detention, many of whom would only have been in institutional care for a few days or weeks. Including these children and young people brings the total to over 100 000.[781]

5.8 CLAN provided the following on the number of state wards in Victoria:[782]

Based on these figures CLAN argued that there was likely to have been approximately 95 000 state wards in 1891 to 1975. The Norgard Report stated that there were 95 000 children in State care over the period from 1864 to the 1970s.[783]

Table 5.2: Victoria - Numbers of state wards: selected years, 1944-1980

Year

Number of state wards

1944

4 760

1946

4 019

1948

3 485

1950

3 246

1954

3 121

1956

3 304

1958

3 951

1960

4 775

1962

4 542

1964

5 756

1966

6 415

1968

6 696

1970

7 045

1972

7 236

1974

6 677

1976

6 601

1978

4 611

1980

4 158

Source: Markiewicz A, 'The child welfare system in Victoria', Children Australia, vol.21, No.3, 1996, p.33.

Western Australia

5.9 The Western Australian Department for Community Development stated that in 1920-2003 there were 56 000 children in out-of-home care. This figure only relates to children who have been placed into care with state government involvement and does not include children who went into privately arranged placements.[784]

5.10 This data is now contained in a Children in Care Database for Western Australia from 1920-2003. Currently there are 106,000 entries in the database, with 56 000 being an estimate of the actual number of children. This figure has been reached by cleansing the data of old records and is as accurate as possible given the lack of clarity around some entries. Many names appear similar but there is insufficient source material to confirm the full identity of the person.

5.11 As more of the agencies involved in child placement have their old records indexed, the number in the database will change, however it is believed that a great number of their placements are already included in the above figure.

Queensland

5.12 CLAN provided figures based on State Government data though it is not possible to estimate the numbers of state wards. The data shows that from the beginning of the 20th century to the 1970s, 72 000 children were admitted to institutions. If a child was admitted to more than one institution they would have been counted more than once. The figure probably includes state wards and children who were voluntarily placed. The figures broken down by decades are:[785]

1900s

4 766

1940s

9 265

1910s

7 620

1950s

10 210

1920s

8 740

1960s

12 540

1930s

7 286

1970s

11 196

5.13 Table 5.3 shows other data on numbers of children in institutions which may also involve double counting as it relates to numbers for each year.

Table 5.3: Queensland - children in institutional care

Time Period

Numbers

1900 - 1909

8 653

1910 - 1919

10 094

1920 - 1929

9 292

1930 - 1940

6 234

Total

34 273

Source: Dickey & Suthern, p.368.

5.14 The above figure of 34 000 is broadly comparable to the CLAN data which estimates 28 400 admissions from the 1900s to 1930s.

South Australia

5.15 Table 5.4 indicates that some 23 000 children were in institutional care from the 1900s to the 1980s, and a further 128 000 were in other forms of care. This data would involve double counting as it relates to numbers for each year.

Table 5.4: South Australia - children in state care

Time Period

In institutions

Others

1900-1909

2 115

10 953

1910-1919

2 120

14 603

1920-1929

2 679

15 180

1930-1939

2 307

8 945

1940-1949

2 176

9 599

1950-1959

2 766

8 923

1960-1969

5 206

28 038

1970-1979

3 584

31 760

Total

22 953

128 001

'Others' = not defined in source document.

Source: Dickey B & Suthern K, 'Social Welfare', in Vamplew W, (ed) Australians: Historical Statistics, Fairfax, Syme & Weldon, 1987, p.367.

5.16 CLAN provided limited data for selected years, based on State Government data, on the number of children placed under guardianship, or as state wards during 1925-1975. The annual figures over that period vary from 1 007 in 1950 to 3 330 in 1970. The data does not provide a complete picture of the number of state wards due to the non recording of figures and varying practices regarding children's placements at different times.[786]

Tasmania

5.17 Table 5.5 indicates that there were some 1 500 children in institutional care from the 1900s to the 1960s and some 14 600 in other forms of care, including foster care, in the same period. This data would involve double counting as it relates to numbers for each year.

Table 5.5: Tasmania - children in state care

Time Period

In institutions

Others (a)

1900-1909

201

1 684

1910-1919

314

2 161

1920-1929

242

3 435

1930-1939

292

3 798

1940-1949

294

2 616

1950-

161 (to 1956)

928 (to 1957)

Total

1 504

14 622

(a) includes children boarded out to foster parents.

Source: Dickey & Suthern, p.370.

Numbers of state wards

5.18 Based on the above discussion the 'best estimates' of the numbers of state wards are presented in Table 5.6.

Table 5.6: Estimated numbers of state wards(a)

State

Time Period

No. of state wards

New South Wales

1900-1975

100 000

Victoria

1928-2003

59 000

Western Australia

1920-2003

56 000

(a) Other states = no reliable data

5.19 In NSW, Victoria, and Western Australia alone there were probably over 215 000 state wards during the course of the 20th century. Other States' data also indicates significant numbers of wards in these States.

Children who were not state wards

5.20 As discussed, not all children in institutional care were state wards. CLAN described the children who were not state wards, probably at least half of all children in care in the 20th century, as inhabiting 'a statistical limbo'.

5.21 In addition to state wards, children were placed in institutional care voluntarily by parents who felt unable to care for them, some children had disabilities which led to them being placed in care and some young people in care were offenders who were detained in institutions. These children only became state wards in certain circumstances. The proportion of children who became wards changed along with policy and legislative changes.

5.22 In NSW, in 1961 the number of children in non-government homes, most of whom were not state wards, was 3 890, comparable to the 3 893 in that year in government-run homes. CLAN estimates that in NSW there were 100 000 state wards and possibly a similar number of non-wards from 1900 to 1975 and based on these estimates could - 'arrive at a figure of 200 000 children growing up in care in NSW in the 20th century'.[787]

5.23 The Victorian Government stated that in 1928-1970s there were large numbers of children placed in care voluntarily by their parents, who did not become state wards in that State.

In the period 1949 to 1954 there were at least 1,900 children in children's homes who were not wards at any one time, compared to 1,100 state wards in the same children's homes. It is not known how many of these 1,900 children went on to become state wards, and it is not known whether periods of time in care were similar for both groups.[788]

5.24 These figures clearly show that at least for certain periods of time it is known that there were about the same number of children who were not state wards as there were state wards in care.

5.25 CLAN argued that if NSW and Victoria between them account for around 300 000 children, both state wards and others, then 'we could perhaps assume that the number of children we are talking about...is at least 400 000 and perhaps close to half a million' nationally.

Total numbers in care

Table 5.7: Estimated numbers in care[789]

State

Time Period

Nos. in care

New South Wales

1900-1975

200 000

Victoria

1928-2003

100 000

Queensland

1900s-1970s

72 000

Western Australia

1920-2003

56 000[790]

South Australia

1900s-1980s

150 000

Tasmania

1900s-1960s

16 000

Numbers of children in care by church/agency

5.26 Limited data on numbers of children in institutions operated by churches and agencies is available from which it appears that the Catholic Church, the Salvation Army and Barnardos were the major churches/agencies providing institutional care.

5.27 Catholic religious orders had very substantial numbers of children in their care. MacKillop Family Services' database covers approximately 115 000 individual client records relating to more than 12 500 mothers and 63 159 children who were in Catholic orphanages and homes operated in Victoria by the Christian Brothers, Sisters of Mercy and Sisters of St Joseph from 1857 until the 1990s. An additional number of children were placed with foster care services, family group homes and smaller residential care units which operated from the closure of the original homes until the formation of MacKillops.[791] These large numbers do not represent the total number of children in the many other Catholic orphanages in Victoria.[792]

5.28 Catholic religious orders in other States had large numbers of children in their care. Some data on Catholic orphanages in NSW and Western Australia shows that large numbers of children were in Catholic orphanages in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Table 5.8: Numbers of children in care

Church/Agency

Time Period

Numbers

Catholic Church[793]

Salvation Army

1950-1979

30 0002

Barnardos

1920s-

30 0003

Burnside

1911-

11 0004

Wesley Mission

1893-

8-10 0005

United Protestant Association

1938-1980s

3 3006

UnitingCare Victoria & Tasmania (Methodist/Presbyterian)

n.a.7

Anglican Church

n.a.

n.a. = numbers not available

1 CWA, personal communication, 2.8.04 5 Submission 178, p.ii.

2 Submission 46, Supp. Info, 8.6.04 6 Submission 30, p.1.

3 Submission 37, p.2. 7 Submission 52, p.4.

4 Submission 59, p.5.

5.29 Compared with some of the other Churches, the Methodist and Presbyterian Churches had less involvement in institutional care, although data is very limited. For example Mofflyn (WA) provided a figure of 250 children, based on selected years.[794]

5.30 The Committee is concerned that the Catholic Church has no overall estimates of numbers of children under its care and the Salvation Army's figures relate only to the second half of the 20th century. The Committee, while recognising resource constraints in these periods, also believes that some of the smaller care providers should have better data if only because the smaller numbers in care would have entailed less onerous record keeping.

5.31 Information in Table 5.9 shows that while Australian State legislation to deal with out-of-home care children had a similar intent, that is, to allow government intervention in placing children in some type of care, its actual effects varied from one State to another and the types of care utilised for children varied significantly among the States.

Although the legislation was remarkably similar in its intention, the system which established it varied, as did the proportion of children swept into the net.[795]

5.32 The Committee was able to locate information from a range of sources regarding particular institutions and orphanages and has consolidated this into Tables 5.10 and 5.11.

Numbers of orphanages

5.33 It is also difficult to determine the number of orphanages that operated nationally. CLAN estimated that in NSW there were approximately 300 homes in 1956, though this figure only includes homes that took children under the age of 7 years because they had to be licensed.[796]

5.34 In Queensland, the Forde Inquiry stated that 150 orphanages and detention centres operated from the early 1900s to the 1990s.[797] In Victoria there were 63 non-government and several government children's homes in operation in 1962-64.[798]

Conclusion

5.35 The Committee believes that possibly upwards of 500 000 children have been placed in institutional care in the last century. Data for Victoria and Western Australia - which is the most comprehensive of the various States' data - indicates that there were some 100 000 children in institutional care in Victoria in the 20th century (including state wards and non-wards) and over 56 000 in Western Australia (including wards and some non-wards). Large numbers of children were also placed in institutional care in NSW (possibly 100 000 state wards and a similar number of non-wards), 72 000 children in Queensland up to the 1970s with lesser numbers in South Australia and Tasmania. Because of data limitations it is more difficult to establish numbers of children in care in States other than Victoria, NSW and Western Australia.

5.36 The Committee considers that much more work is needed to establish more precise information on the numbers of children placed in institutional care during the 20th century in all States, especially in States where the data are most deficient.

Table 5.9: Children in institutional and other forms of care

New South Wales

Victoria

Queensland

South Australia

Western Australia

Tasmania

Inst care

Other care

% pop <15

Inst care

Other care

% pop <15

Inst care

Other care

% pop <15

Inst care

Other care

% pop <15

Inst care

Other care

% pop <15

Inst care

Other care

% pop <15

1900

1410

3844

1.1

1762

4893

1.6

783

0.4

182

1066

0.9

23

220

0.4

1905

1719

3800

2120

4762

925

212

1091

21

152

1910

1699

4390

1.2

2450

6414

2.2

886

0.4

198

1281

1.2

147

83

0.3

26

142

0.2

1915

2076

4880

2635

9685

1084

247

1487

177

151

32

220

1920

3238

4979

1.2

2332

12189

3.2

1113

0.4

229

1614

1.2

30

295

0.4

1925

4552

5577

2229

13590

1020

263

1510

352

1930

5092

5516

2617

17136

998

330

1024

24

366

1935

4941

4292

1.3

4584

11510

3.4

908

0.3

191

851

0.7

31

388

0.6

1940

4222

3877

5248

11592

155

208

874

30

379

1945

2772

0.4

4297

0.8

199

1060

0.8

31

226

0.3

1950

2604

3080

251

770

22

141

1955

2674

0.3

242

797

0.4

31

109

0.1

Source: Swain S, 'Derivative and indigenous in the history and historiography of child welfare in Australia', Children Australia, vol.26, No.4 2001, p.6.

Table 5.10: Victoria - Non-government children's homes and number of children 1962-64

Type and name of home

No. of children

Type and name of home

No. of children

Babies Homes

Girls' Homes

Alexandra

27

C. of E. Girls

39

Bethany

31

Abbotsford Convent

90

C. of E., Darling

31

Villa Maretta, Oakleigh

24

Berry St Foundling

40

Marillac House

89

Hartnett House

67

Nazareth House

110

Methodist Babies

32

St Agnes

28

Presbyterian Babies

42

Stanhope Legacy

27

St Gabriel's

27

S.A. Catherine Booth

60

St Joseph's, Broadmeadows

91

S.A. William Booth

51

St Joseph's, Kew

9

Pirra

27

The Haven

24

St Luke's

49

Total

470

Total

545

Boys' Homes

Mixed Homes

Blamey House

20

Andrew Kerr

37

Burwood Boys'

52

Antonian Institute

21

Gordon Boys'

46

Ballarat Orphanage

153

Hurlingham Carry On

18

Glastonbury

84

Kilmany Park

27

Harelands

27

Menzies Home

47

Kildonan

72

St Augustine's

126

Lutheran Children's

37

St Cuthbert's

24

Melbourne Orphanage

129

St John of God, Cheltenham

97

Orana

79

St John of God, Yarra View

54

Nazareth Boys

175

St Joseph's, Surrey Hills

71

Northcote School

64

St Paul's

38

Providence

26

St Vincent de Paul

144

Resurrection House

80

S.A. Bayswater, No.2

55

St Aidan's

115

S.A. Box Hill

120

St Anthony's

92

Tally Ho Boys' Village

89

St Catherine's

100

Hillside

38

St John's

82

St Vincent's

121

Salem

6

S.A. Kardinia

42

Sutherland Homes

63

Victorian C.A.S.

39

Sutton Grange

30

Family Group Homes (all)

96

Total

1 066

Total

1 770

Total of All Homes

3 851

Source: Submission 173, p.15 (Victorian Government).

Table 5.11: Numbers of children in orphanages

Orphanage

Religious Order/Church

Time Period

Nos of Children

Victoria

St Augustine's, Newtown

Christian Brothers

1857-1939

4 825 1

St Augustine's, Highton

Christian Brothers

1939-1987

3 555 1

St Vincent de Paul's, South Melbourne

Christian Brothers

1857-1997

6 120 1

St Catherine's, Newtown

Sisters of Mercy

1862-1928

1 746 1

St Catherine's, Highton

Sisters of Mercy

1928-1975

1 786 1

St Vincent de Paul's, South Melbourne

Sisters of Mercy

1864-1966

5 317 1

St Vincent de Paul's, Black Rock

Sisters of Mercy

1966-1997

540 1

St Joseph's Foundling Home, Broadmeadows

Sisters of St Joseph

1901-1975

20 000 1
(mainly babies/toddlers)

St Joseph's Receiving Home, Carlton

Sisters of St Joseph

1906-1985

10 500 1
(mainly babies/toddlers)

St Anthony's, Kew

Sisters of St Joseph

1922-1975

3 240 1

St Joseph's, Surrey Hills

Sisters of St Joseph

1890-1980

5 530 1

Ballarat

Sisters of Nazareth

1889-1976

2 217 2

Sebastopol

Sisters of Nazareth

1906-1980

2 538 2

Camberwell

Sisters of Nazareth

1953-1975

420 2

Surrey Hills and Kew

Lutheran

1950-1972

600 3

New South Wales

St Magdalen's Retreat, Tempe

Good Samaritan Sisters

1877-1983

5 126 4
(women & children)

Manly Industrial School

Good Samaritan Sisters

1886-1910

1 469 4

Balmain Industrial/Vocational School

Good Samaritan Sisters

1910-1914

316 4

Mater Dei, Narellan

Good Samaritan Sisters

1910-1957

1 869 4

St Brigid's, Ryde

Sisters of Mercy

1902-1923

703 5

Western Australia

St Joseph's, Wembley

Sisters of Mercy

1957-1968

Average of 87 children each year 6

St Vincent's Foundling Home, Wembley

Sisters of Mercy

1957-1968

Average of 95 children each year 6

Geraldton

Sisters of Nazareth

1942-1977

1 152 6

Clontarf, Castledare, Tardun, Bindoon

Christian Brothers

1901-1983

4 000 7

Queensland

Nazareth House, Wynnum

Sisters of Nazareth

1926-1982

1 714 2

St Vincent's, Nudgee

Sisters of Mercy

1867-1970

10 500 8

St Joseph's, Neerkol

Sisters of Mercy

1880-1978

4 000 9

Sources: 1 Submission 50, Additional Information, 22.6.04 (MacKillop Family Services).

2 Submission 22, Additional Information, 2.4.04 (CLAN).

3 Submission 22, Additional Information, 21.7.04 (CLAN).

4 Submission 22, Additional Information, 13.5.04 (CLAN).

5 McGrath M, 'Catholic Orphanages 1890s-1950s', Journal of the Royal Australian Historical Society, vol.77, October 1991, p.26.

6 Submission 61, pp.5-6 (Mercy Community Services).

7 Submission 65, Appendix 1 (Christian Brothers).

8 Submission 22, Additional Information, 9.8.04 (CLAN).

9 Committee Hansard 12.3.04, pp.107-8.

Top