Methodist Home for Children: reports and general correspondence (Volume 1 of 2) is an item within the main series of child welfare files for Western Australia. It contains many handwritten and typed Inspector's Reports on the operation of the Methodist Homes for Children. The reports were written by Inspectors from the State Children Department and, after 1927, the Child Welfare Department. There are also letters between the Department and the Methodist Homes for Children, some Annual Reports from the Homes, and newspaper articles.
Restricted. The files are held at the State Records Office, but permission to access them must be obtained from Freedom of Information at the Department for Child Protection and Family Support.
The 'Methodist Home for Children: reports and general correspondence' file contains Inspector's Reports dating from 1923 to 1942. The Inspector's Reports for the years of 1923 to 1935 use a departmental form which seeks the following information:
An Inspection Report dated 22 March 1937 uses another form ('C.W.D. Form No. 63') which asks for most of the information covered on the earlier form, but is different and also asks for some new information. On the Form No. 63, children are 'classified' into 'Wards', 'Foster Children' and 'Private Children'. The question about illness is more direct, asking for the names of children who were sick and what made them sick. The question about food is also more direct, asking the Inspector to describe the last meal served or the meal that was served during the inspection. The Inspector was also asked to report on entries in the Punishment Book and Medical Register. Some reports give information about children's punishments and their medical conditions. Mostly, the report will just say that the inspection of the book and register was 'satisfactory'. Staff names and positions are often listed in reports, as are the names of Inspectors and other officers from the Department.
In addition to the Inspector's Report using the form, a note to the Secretary of the Child Welfare Department (CWD) is often attached. These notes usually refer to the report, in the manner of a covering letter. The note may also bring up information that the Inspector wants the Secretary to especially notice in the Report. Or sometimes it may contain information that the Inspector didn't want to include in the formal Report. For example in October 1940, the Inspector told the Secretary that the Report 'refrained from drastic comments' about the state of the wooden dormitory building. Apparently, the Manager of the Methodist Homes for Children didn't yet have the money to make the necessary repairs, and if the CWD had asked for urgent action before the money was found, the outcome would be 'detrimental' - a partial solution to the problems. There was clearly some informal relationship and trust between the CWD and the institution.
As well as forms and reports, the file contains letters between Methodist Homes for Children and the Department about children in the Homes. Mostly, these letters are confirming whether a child is still at the Home. But there are some letters that give information about a child's health or other personal matters, including family background.
The 12th (1933), 13th (1934) and 17th (1938) Annual Reports of the Methodist Homes for Children are also included on the file, at pages 82, 92 and 187.
The file also contains 'souvenirs' such as a postcard about laying the foundation stone of the second cottage at the Victoria Park site on 11 October 1924 (at page 9); a photo from 1923; a 'dietary table' (children's menu) from 1924 (at page 7) and 1927 (at page 23); and a number of newspaper articles about events at the Home.
Prepared by: Debra Rosser
Created: 31 May 2012, Last modified: 28 January 2015