The Salvation Army Westcare came into being in around 1980. With support from the Department of Community Welfare Services (DCWS), Westcare established residential units for children and young people in the western region of Melbourne. The Salvation Army Westcare ran residential care units for young people until 2018 when the Department of Health and Human Services decided it would no longer fund Westcare amid concerns about the safety of vulnerable young people in its Homes. Following a tender process, the residential units formerly run by Westcare were taken over by Anglicare Victoria.
Following the closure of the Bayswater Boys' Homes in 1980, the Salvation Army and the Department of Community Welfare Services (DCWS) decided to establish residential units in the western region of Melbourne.
The Salvation Army used DCWS residential child care conversion funds to develop two family group homes in Sunshine: 'Cornwall Cottage', opened March 1982 and 'Beech Court' Adolescent Unit, opened November 1982.
On completion of the project, the Salvation Army had set up a professional support unit and three residential units, with rostered staff to meet the special needs of the children and young people being accommodated.
These services were incorporated as Western Region Family Service in January 1982. They were later known as Crossroads Child and Adolescent Family Services.
The Salvation Army Westcare provided a range of services to children and young people including residential care units until 2018. In 2013, a young woman tragically died of an overdose while living in a Westcare residential care home. The Victorian coroner identified a series of failings by the Department of Health and Human Services, and criticised the actions of some Westcare staff.
In April 2018, the Department confirmed that it would no longer fund the Salvation Army Westcare to provide residential care. These services were tendered and Anglicare Victoria was selected as the new provider for residential care units formerly run by Westcare.
Sources used to compile this entry: James Jenkinson Consulting, Guide to out-of-home care services 1940-2000 - Volume One: Agency Descriptions, Department of Human Services, Unpublished, November 2001, https://www.childabuseroyalcommission.gov.au/sites/default/files/DHS.3004.011.0367.pdf; "The Salvation Army loses contract to care for vulnerable kids", ABC News website, 13 April 2018; https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-04-13/salvation-army-lose-contract-for-kids-care-after-teen-drug-death/9634308.
Prepared by: Cate O'Neill
Created: 1 May 2009, Last modified: 5 March 2020