The Destitute Children Act [2/1866 (30 Vic. No.2)], also known as the Industrial Schools Act, enabled justices to send vagrant and destitute children under the age of eighteen to work as apprentices or be sent to industrial or reformatory schools. The Act was amended in 1870 to enable boys under the age of six to be cared for by the women superintendents of Female Industrial Schools. The Act was repealed by the Reformatory and Industrial Schools Act 1901.
This has been described as the first 'caring' legislation for children in New South Wales, but it is hard to imagine that an act that caused children to be 'charged' with their own neglect, poverty and abuse could be considered caring.
1866 - 1901 Destitute Children Act 1866
1901 - 1905 Reformatory and Industrial Schools Act 1901
1905 - 1923 Neglected Children and Juvenile Offenders Act 1905
1923 - 1939 Child Welfare Act 1923
1939 - 1987 Child Welfare Act 1939
1965 - 2003 Adoption of Children Act 1965
1987 - 2010 Children (Care and Protection) Act 1987
1998 - Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act 1998
2000 - Adoption Act 2000
Sources used to compile this entry: History of the Children's Court [extracted from Blackmore, R., The Children's Court and Community Welfare in NSW, Lawlink NSW, 2009, http://www.childrenscourt.justice.nsw.gov.au/Documents/History%20of%20Children%27s%20Legislation%20in%20NSW.pdfhttp://www.childrenscourt.justice.nsw.gov.au/Documents/History%20of%20Children%27s%20Legislation%20in%20NSW.pdf; Blackmore, Rod, 'History of Children's Legislation in New South Wales - The Children's Court', in History of the Children's Court, Lawlink, Lawlink NSW, 2012, http://www.childrenscourt.justice.nsw.gov.au/Documents/History%20of%20Children's%20Legislation%20in%20NSW.pdf; Thinee, Kristy and Bradford, Tracy, Connecting Kin: Guide to Records, A guide to help people separated from their families search for their records [completed in 1998], New South Wales Department of Community Services, Sydney, New South Wales, 1998, https://clan.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/connectkin_guide.pdf.
Prepared by: Naomi Parry and Liam Hogan
Created: 21 February 2011, Last modified: 10 September 2021