The Neglected Children and Juvenile Offenders Ordinance 1949 (Act no. 9/1949) was Commonwealth legislation, which amended the definition of ‘neglected child’ in the Neglected Children and Juvenile Offenders Act 1905 (NSW). It commenced on 29 September 1949 and was repealed by the Child Welfare Ordinance 1957 on 1 March 1958. The NSW child welfare legislation applied in the ACT until the passage of the Child Welfare Ordinance 1957.
The New South Wales Neglected Children and Juvenile Offenders Act 1905 provided for action to be taken for the care and protection of children who were not provided with ‘proper’ food, clothing or care and accommodation, or who were found to be begging in a public place or to be living or associating with women engaged in prostitution or people considered to be ‘reputed thieves.’
The 1905 Act was amended by the Neglected Children and Juvenile Offenders Ordinance 1949, which added that children could be considered neglected and subject to action if they were found to be destitute, ‘subject to bad associations or moral danger.’ Children could also be considered neglected if they were not attending school regularly, if their parents were thought ‘not fit to retain them in their care,’ or if the children were believed to be under ‘incompetent or improper guardianship.’ The definition applied to children whose parents were thought to be either ‘drunkards,’ ‘ insane or dead’ and to those who appeared to have ‘no lawful means of support’ or ‘fixed place of abode.’