• Legislation

Infant Life Protection Act 1907


The passing of the Infant Life Protection Act 1907 (No.2102) was partly in response to concerns about ‘baby farming’. The Act required parents to register voluntary foster placements with the Neglected Children’s Department and pay for the upkeep of the child or risk the child becoming a ward of the state. Registered carers also became subject to inspection. With this Act, the Neglected Children’s Department assumed responsibility from the Office of the Chief Commissioner of Police in 1907 for the registration of homes providing non-parental care to infants.

This legislation amended the Infant Life Protection Act 1890. It was repealed by the Infant Life Protection Act 1915.

Under the Victorian 1907 Act, all placements were to be arranged through the Department, which was also responsible for maintaining a private register detailing the child’s parentage, and for setting and collecting weekly payments. Where payments fell more than four weeks in arrears, the child automatically became a state ward. All children were subject to medical inspection and any found to be suffering from epilepsy or syphilis (major causes of death under the old system), were removed from nurses and made wards.

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