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Children's Court Clinic

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The Children’s Court Clinic was established in 1942 and operated in association with the Central Children’s Court in Melbourne. The Clinic was the investigative arm of the Children’s Court. Many children who were at Royal Park Depot or Turana awaiting a court appearance were seen by the Children’s Court Clinic. In 2016, the Children’s Court Clinic is a state-wide service funded by the Department of Justice and Regulation.

The Children’s Court Clinic was originally part of the Law Department, and in 1944 it became part of the Department of Health. In July 1948, the Department of Mental Hygiene took over the Children’s Court Clinic.

The Clinic provided the court with clinical psychology services and assessments of children. Most children who visited the clinic were referred by the Children’s Court. Others were referred by doctors, social workers, or brought by their families.

In 1956, the report of the Juvenile Delinquency Advisory Committee called for the expansion of the Children’s Court Clinic and recommended that juveniles undergo ‘proper pre-sentence diagnostic appraisal’. The Children’s Court Act 1956 described the function of the Clinic as:

‘for the purpose of making physical psychiatric and psychological examinations of children proved before Children’s Courts to have committed offences or to be children or young persons in need of care and protection and of submitting special reports for the information of the Court’ (s.44).

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