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New South Wales - Archival Item

Bruce Callaghan interviewed by Gail Winkworth in the Children and the State oral history project [sound recording] (2009)

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National Library of Australia Bib ID

Bruce Callaghan interviewed by Gail Winkworth in the Children and the State oral history project [sound recording] is an oral history interview held by the National Library of Australia. Callaghan speaks about his experiences working in child protection and social work.


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Written permission required for research, personal copies and public use during the lifetime of the interviewee.


Bruce Callaghan speaks about his role as managing director of BCA National Training Group; working in the Kimberleys; Indigenous social workers; approaches to social work; Bringing Them Home Report; the challenges of bureaucracy; The Homeland Movement; Noel Pearson; studying for seven years in Brisbane at a provincial seminary; working as a priest in rural Queensland for two years; his academic background; his early work experience; the policy for Aboriginal families and Child welfare legislation; the Daruk institution for delinquents; Metropolitan Boys Shelter; becoming a district officer; interaction between wards of the state, social workers and single mothers; the relationship between officers and children in institutions; how the Department of Community Services (DoCS) was transformed after Whitlam's election; the establishment of the Wickham Community Centre; changes occurring in the (1970s); working as a social planner in the Hunter; returning to the Department of Youth and Community services.

Callaghan talks about becoming the deputy in charge of the Community Liaison Bureau; the notion of child and social welfare broadening to incorporate a sense of community; regionalisation of the Department of Youth and Community Services; becoming Regional Director of Hunter and later moving to the Sydney metropolitan area; moving to position as Acting Director of Operations; the children's rights movement; multiculturalism, housing, welfare and Aboriginal Affairs; policy framework and resources; the contracting out of alternative care to the non-governmental sector; the purpose of Department of Community Services (DoCS), protecting children and supporting families; the changing role of government in relation to family welfare; leadership and the role of the state; new national framework for protecting Australia's children.

Prepared by: Cate O'Neill