The McCall Centre began in West Perth in 1971 as a government-run Home intended for the long-term accommodation of up to 20 children aged from four years old, whom child welfare authorities diagnosed with significant emotional or behavioural issues. The Centre moved to Highgate in 1972, to Mosman Park in 1973, and by 1974 admitted only 10 children to a shorter-term residential program. By 1995 The McCall Centre was the administrative head of five metropolitan hostels. It is possible that McCall's residential program closed in 2005.
Government reports (Signposts 2004, pp.319-325) show that the McCall Centre began with the aim (p.319) of helping children 'overcome their problems while they are still young, and thus not become a burden to the community later on.'
By 1980, the non-residential programmes offered by McCall were a significant part of the Centre's work. One of these was a community kindergarten which provided pre-schooling, without an enhanced curriculum, for local children. The Centre was thus providing therapeutic, preventive, and non-therapeutic programmes at that stage.
The McCall Centre opened on 3 May 1971 in temporary accommodation in West Perth. At that stage, it was providing long-term residential 'treatment' for what authorities described (p.319) as up to 20 'emotionally disturbed' 6-12 year olds. The permanent 'home' that was planned for the centre, which was named after a former Director of the Child Welfare Department, Mr JA McCall, was the old cable station in Mosman Park. However, the refurbishment of the old building took longer than expected and the McCall Centre had to relocate to Lincoln Street, Highgate before moving into its permanent premises at 2 Curtin Avenue, Mosman Park in July 1973.
By 1980, what came to be called the 'McCall System' for 4-12 year olds included the McCall Centre Residential Unit in Curtin Avenue, Community Support programs delivered by departmental staff from there, and a Kindergarten at the Mosman Park site.
By 1986, the McCall Centre residential program could accommodate up to 10 children at any one time, for up to 12 weeks. Families often lived on the premises, which was seen by authorities (p.319) 'to help parents develop skills to manage and relate to their child who was in the McCall program'.
In 1987, in response to a review of departmental programs, the non-residential departmental school, Koorana, was closed and the McCall Centre's community-based program was expanded. At this time, McCall's role was essentially one of attempting to support children to develop socialisation, education and behavioural skills that would increase their opportunity to engage in mainstream education and recreational situations. In 1988, a day attendance program was started at the McCall Centre so that children could receive therapeutic support while also receiving a school curriculum.
Fostercarers and parents continued to be supported by McCall Centre programs, with an emphasis on behavioural management strategies.
In 1989 (p.325), the McCall Centre's residential unit relocated to the Oceanview Hostel on Beach Road in Cottesloe. Children stayed on average, 6 weeks. The residential unit at Oceanview apparently closed in 1995 as it was reported (p.398) that the Beach Road property was being used as an 'educational facility' in that year.
By 1995, the McCall Centre became the administrative head of a network of hostels that included McCall, Kyewong, Tudor Lodge, and Darlington Lodge (or Darlington House), as well as offering some temporary care in Mosman.
It is possible that McCall's residential program closed in 2005.
1974 - 1987 Koorana
1971 - 2005? McCall Centre
Sources used to compile this entry: Information Services, Department for Community Development, 'pp.319-320, Table 26: Young People at the McCall Centre, Certain Years between 1971 and 1995', Signposts: A Guide for Children and Young People in Care in WA from 1920, Government of Western Australia, 2004, https://signposts.communities.wa.gov.au//pdf/pdf.aspx.
Prepared by: Debra Rosser
Created: 15 March 2011, Last modified: 7 November 2018