The Victorian Children's Aid Society was established in 1920. It was formerly the Victorian Neglected Children's Aid Society. It ran a Home in Parkville that accommodated boys and girls, aged between 4 and 14. In 1966 the Society moved the Home (renamed Swinburne House) and headquarters to Black Rock. In the 1980s, the Society expanded into family group homes, youth work, disability and foster care. The Victorian Children's Aid Society became known as Family Focus in 1991.
The Victorian Children's Aid Society was based in Leonard Street, Parkville, at the children's Home which had been established in the early 1900s (by Selina Sutherland).
The Home was renamed Swinburne Lodge in 1957, after a former President of the Society, Pattie Deakin (wife of the former Prime Minister).
In 1966, the Society sold the Parkville property and moved to the suburb of Black Rock. As well as running what was now called Swinburne House, the Society operated a number of family group homes in bayside Melbourne, including in Bentleigh East and Parkdale.
In the 1980s, the Society expanded its operations into youth work, disability care and foster care. In 1987, the Society established the Alan Marshall centre for Disabled Children and Adolescents, located at 6 Seaview Crescent, Black Rock. It also ran the Norman Craig Lodge, a hostel in Black Rock for adolescents.
By 1984, all children in the care of the Society were in either group homes or foster care.
In 1991, the Victorian Children's Aid Society merged with Foster Care Westernport, to create a new organisation called Family Focus.
1894 - 1920 Victorian Neglected Children's Aid Society
1920 - 1991 Victorian Children's Aid Society
1991 - 1993 Family Focus
1993 - OzChild
Sources used to compile this entry: 'Children Australia (OzChild): an analysis of its history', in Lyndy-Loo, 13 April 2006, http://lyndy-loo.blogspot.com.au/2006/04/children-australia-oz-child-analysis.html; Victoria Government Gazette Online Archive 1836-1997, State Library of Victoria, 2009, http://gazette.slv.vic.gov.au/; Francis, Rosemary, 'Victorian Children's Aid Society (1893 - 1991)', in Australian Women's Register, National Foundation for Australian Women, 2003, http://www.womenaustralia.info/biogs/AWE0574b.htm; Correspondence between Find and Connect staff and Warren Smith, 24 April - 20 May 2013.
Prepared by: Cate O'Neill
Created: 1 May 2009, Last modified: 1 February 2018