The Citizens Welfare Service of Victoria came into being in 1947. Previously it was known as the Charity Organisation Society of Melbourne. The name change coincided with a change in focus towards casework and counselling, employing only professionally trained social workers and expanding its ‘client group’ into Melbourne’s northern and western suburbs. The CWS ran a foster care program in the 1950s, and a hostel for girls and young women in Kew from 1964 to 1967. The organisation became known as the Drummond Street Relationship Centre from 1996 until 2010, when it was renamed Drummond street services.
In September 2020, Drummond street services published an apology for abuse suffered by past clients of the Citizens Welfare Service:
We are sorry to any individuals that were harmed and to their families and loved ones. We are sorry to all survivors, this includes clients and their families, past and present, who we have worked with and trusted us.
It also announced that the organisation was undertaking the required steps to join the National Redress Scheme. At the time that the organisation made this apology, Drummond street stated that recent research into its institutional had confirmed that the CWS ran a foster care program in the 1950s, and a hostel for girls and young women in Kew from 1964 to 1967.
CWS annual reports contain information about its involvement in providing foster care. Its foster care program commenced in 1956, in that year it organised 14 placements (CWS Annual Report 1956). Annual reports also indicate that there were 31 foster care placements in 1957, 27 placements in 1958, 26 placements in 1959 and 13 placements in 1960.