Child Care Services of the Uniting Church


  • Auspice: Presbyterian and Methodist Churches
  • Name: Child Care Services of the Uniting Church
  • Other names: Uniting Church Child Care Service, Copelen Street Family Centre, Presbyterian and Methodist Child Care Service. Presbyterian and Methodist Babies' Homes

Child Care Services of the Uniting Church history in brief

In 1971, the Methodist Department of Childcare merged with the Presbyterian Department of Social Services to create the Presbyterian and Methodist Child Care Service, which was the sole Victorian agency supervising inter-country adoptions and placements of children from Vietnam during the 1970s.

The merger led to a reorganisation of the adoption services of both the Presbyterian and Methodist Babies' Homes.

In 1971 the Presbyterian Babies Home and the Methodist Babies Home amalgamated to form the Copelen Street Family Centre, offering a wide network of services to support family life. This included counselling for single mothers, including those living at the Presbyterian Sisterhood and those at the short-term accommodation unit for single mothers and their children at Eden Court in Ascot Vale.

From 1977, the Child Care Service of the Methodist and Presbyterian Churches was named Childcare Services of the Uniting Church.

By 1985, the multi-service agency operated at local, regional and statewide levels, offering day-care and kindergarten facilities, emergency housing, family support, foster care and special needs adoption.

Warning about distressing information

This guide contains information that some people may find distressing. If you experienced abuse as a child or young person in an institution mentioned in this guide, it may be a difficult reading experience. Guides may also contain references to previous views, policies and practices that are regrettable and do not reflect the current views, policies or practices of the department or the State of Victoria. If you find this content distressing, please consult with a support person either from the Department of Health and Human Services or another agency.


Please note that this administrative history is provided for general information only and does not purport to be comprehensive. The department does not guarantee the accuracy of this administrative history. For more information on the history of child welfare in Australia, see Find & ConnectExternal Link .


Presbyterian and Methodist Child Care Service (1971–1977?) first published by the Find & Connect Web Resource Project for the Commonwealth of Australia 2011, Link , viewed 5 August 2016.

List of records held by the department

For information relating to the central management of care leavers and wards of state, please consult the guide Central department wardship and out-of-home care records. These collections date back to the 1860s and include ward registers, index cards and ward files.

Voluntary children’s homes files (c.1930–c.85)

File; Permanent (VPRS Number 18069 / P0002)

Content: The files record interaction between the various voluntary homes and the government. This filing system was created in 1975, combining earlier correspondence and other records to create one system with VH prefixes.

The specific file(s) relating to this Uniting Church service dates from 1974–85 and includes:

File: VH-045:

  • file note, named ward of state, 1974
  • Children’s Homes Section’s dealings with Orana, detailed case information on families of wards, including children’s names and ward number, 1974
  • correspondence and documentation of departmental relationships with voluntary agencies, 1974
  • lists of wards with summary case information, 1974
  • correspondence, Child Care Services of the Presbyterian and Methodist Churches and the department, regarding the organisational relationship, 1974
  • report on the Child Care Services’ agencies (Kildonan, Kilmanny, Orana and the Presbyterian Babies Home) and their relationship with the department, 1975
  • statistics, Alexander Babies Home and Overton Children’s home, 1975
  • funding, 1978
  • Copelen Street Family Centre, capital funding, financial statement, 1984, 1985
  • Copelen annual report, 1985
  • Copelen Street Family Centre brochures 1985

Community Services Victoria (and predecessor departments) personnel files (c.1950s–88)

File; Temporary

Content: This collection comprises the central employee filing system for the department.

These files chart each employee’s history including the following contents: employee's name, date commenced, positions held, leave details, position changes and promotions, salary increases and termination details. Some files include the employee's leave card, as well as various employment history details. These records are arranged in alphabetical order by surname.

The files include staff working at the reception centres, training centres and children’s homes.

There is a single file relating to a social worker position at the Uniting Church Child Care Service.

Staffing priorities committee, homes and hostels files (1976–83)

File; Temporary

Content: Files documenting the recommendations for staffing positions for homes and hostels; correspondence between the Minister of Community Welfare Services and senior officers; and funding information. The Staffing Priorities Committee made recommendations to the minister regarding priority of staffing positions required.

Individual homes and hostels are listed accompanied by comprehensive material concerning each home, family group home or hostel. There are also minutes from the approved children's homes and hostels meetings 1978–80.

A specific file relating Uniting Church family group homes in Sale/Bairnsdale dates from 1976–78.

Staffing priorities committee, homes and hostels, correspondence, guidelines for operation and minutes of meetings (1976–80)

File; Unappraised

Content: Ministerial correspondence, and Staffing Priority Committee minutes and list of members.

Reviewed 01 September 2016