Sutherland Child Youth and Family Services came into being in 1991. It was previously known as Sutherland Homes for Children. In 1994, Sutherland Child Youth and Family Services amalgamated with Berry Street, to form a new organisation with the Berry Street name.
Sutherland Child Youth and Family Services came into being in 1991. It was previously known as Sutherland Homes for Children.
Sutherland Homes for Children was established in 1908, and the institution changed with the times in Victoria.
The name change in 1991 reflected changes in the services provided by the organisation by the early 1990s. As well as residential care at Diamond Creek, increasingly, Sutherland was involved in family support services in the wider locality.
In 1991, Sutherland decided to review its campus residential services, and became involved with North East Foster Care. In 1992, Sutherland agreed to auspice the Shopfront Family Resource Centre.
In 1992, Sutherland, in partnership with the Eltham Baptist Church, opened an independent living house known as Kedron House. Amongst many other changes that year, Eltham Youth Accommodation Program became part of Sutherland.
Back in 1990, the Committee of Management had resolved that by 1993 all services and administration would be conducted in community-based facilities, rather than the Diamond Creek campus. However, a review in 1982 led to the decision to continue providing residential care and retain the property at Diamond Creek, at least for the next three to five years.
One of the campus residential units was relocated to Watsonia. The remaining family group homes at Diamond Creek were used to accommodate emotionally disturbed children. One unit, Callaway Cottage, which was opened in 1992, was for children needing a specialised program to prepare them for a move into permanent care. It was developed in partnership with the Austin Child & Adolescent Psychiatric Unit.
In 1994, Sutherland had an increasing budget deficit. Funds raised by the sale of part of the land at Diamond Creek in 1990 were running out. Sutherland was forced to consider its future.
The decision was made to amalgamate with Berry Street, a Melbourne-based organisation which dated back to 1877. In the words of Nancy Groll:
Sutherland needed to increase its financial base. Berry Street needed to increase its range of services. Both organisations were looking to secure their futures into the 21st century. Both Boards recognised that the stronger the organisation, the better it's placed to respond to, if not have some effect on, changes in funding and government policy. The amalgamation of Berry Street and Sutherland would create an organisation much stronger than either could ever have hoped to be on their own. It could be, as they say, 'a match made in heaven'.
The merger became official on 6 September 1994.
Although the new organisation was called Berry Street, the Sutherland name lived on in the Shopfront Family Resource Centre, which was renamed the Sutherland Community Resource Centre. Berry Street continues to honour Sutherland's founder with the annual Selina Sutherland Award, presented to an outstanding volunteer.
Berry Street is the custodian of records from Sutherland Child Youth and Family Services.
Sources used to compile this entry: Groll, Nancy, The Sutherland Story: a century of caring for children, Berry Street Victoria, 2000.
Prepared by: Cate O'Neill
Created: 17 February 2009, Last modified: 4 March 2014