History Barwon Child, Youth & Family (BCYF)

Barwon Child, Youth & Family (BCYF) was launched as a new entity on July 1, 2015, as a result of a merger between Glastonbury Community Services, Barwon Youth and Time for Youth. The three agencies harnessed their strengths to create a reinvigorated community agency, to better serve the wider Geelong community.

The history of the three merged agencies is outlined below. You can also read more about our history and foundations in our book ‘Stronger Together: A History of Barwon Child, Youth & Family 1855-2018.


History Glastonbury Community Services

From 1850s to 2012

Glastonbury Community Services originated in the 1850s when the founders of Geelong responded to the plight of deserted and orphaned children in the community. In 1854 the city’s first Mayor, William Baylie, and the patron, James Austin, guided the development of the orphanage at its first site.

In 1925 the orphanage moved to Belmont and during the late 1970s the Committee of Management facilitated the transition to group homes (from Children’s Home) and home-based family services.

In 1996 Glastonbury Community Services moved to Malop Street Geelong.

The orphanage changed names and location over a period of 125 years (approximately):

1854 – 1862Geelong Orphan Asylum
1862 – 1909Geelong Protestant Orphan Asylum
1902 – 1955Geelong and Western District Protestant Orphanage
1925Move to Belmont
1955 – 1977Glastonbury – Geelong Protestant Orphanage
1977 – 1984Glastonbury Children’s Home
1984Name change to Glastonbury Child and Family Services
1992The company which later became known as Glastonbury Community Services was incorporated under the name Glastonbury Child and Family Services Limited
1996Move to Malop Street Geelong
2011Name changed to Glastonbury Community Services
  • History Barwon Youth

    Barwon Youth commenced service in 1981 and developed into an organisation that was funded from a range of state and commonwealth government sources, philanthropic grants and donations.

    Barwon Youth provided a broad spectrum of programs and services to young people in the Barwon South Western Region of Victoria. There was an emphasis on youth work principals, aimed predominantly in the youth justice sphere, as well as transitional accommodation, education and training, and drug and alcohol services.

    In providing these services Barwon Youth demonstrated its ability to act collaboratively with many agencies and government departments, establishing long-standing and unique partnerships. The history of Barwon Youth demonstrates high-quality, reliable and innovative service delivery.

  • Time for Youth

    Time for Youth began operating in the Barwon Region in 1987 and was a leading provider of services for vulnerable young people aged 10 to 25 and their families.

    Time for Youth services included youth and family programs, crisis and transitional accommodation, housing support, information, referral to the wider service network, as well as a range of other initiatives to assist young people to develop their sense of belonging, self-worth and connection to family, school and the community.

    Time for Youth collaborated with the youth, family and community sector across the Barwon region.

  • National Redress Scheme

    In July 2018 the Commonwealth government introduced the National Redress Scheme in response to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. The purpose of the scheme is to provide support to people who experienced institutional child sexual abuse including access to counselling, a Redress payment; and a direct personal response from the institution (e.g. an apology).

    For further information regarding the scheme please click here or visit www.nationalredress.gov.au.

    For a list of Victorian Redress support services, please click here.

    In March 2019, the BCYF Board agreed ‘in principle’ to join the National Redress Scheme, subject to clarification on a number of issues by the Department of Social Services, the operators of the scheme. Read the full announcement here.

    Should you wish to contact BCYF to share your experience of being in care with us or one of our founding bodies then please contact 5226 8900 and ask to speak to the Complaints Officer or alternatively contact feedback@bcyf.org.au.

    Should you wish to speak with an external organisation about your past experience of being in care with us or one of our founding bodies then please contact:

    • Open Place1800 779 379 (freecall) or via email info@openplace.org.au
      Open Place is a support and advocacy service that co-ordinates and provides direct assistance to address the needs of people who grew up in Victorian orphanages and homes during the last century.
    • CLAN1800 008 774 (freecall) or 0425 204 747 or via email support@clan.org.au
      Care Leavers Australasia Network (CLAN) is a national, independent, peak membership body which represents, supports and advocates for people who were raised in Australian and New Zealand Orphanages, Children’s Homes & Foster Care.

    To access your information click here.

  • Apology to Past Care Leavers

    Original Apology 2008, Revised in 2018

    On 1 July 2015, Barwon Child, Youth & Family was formed through the merger of Glastonbury Community Services, Barwon Youth and Time for Youth. These organisations provided various forms of alternative care for children and young people who could not or would not, live within their family. Whilst recognising the significant histories and contribution these former agencies have made to the region’s social history, Barwon Child, Youth & Family appreciates that lessons from our past, shape and influences our future.

    We support the findings of the Australian Senate Report 2004 and the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse (2013). We rise to their challenges to admit past wrongs, to provide supportive, appropriate responses to those who were harmed and to ensure that such wrongdoings are never hidden or repeated.

    Barwon Child, Youth & Family is committed to providing the best care and support services possible and we recognise and honour the efforts of the majority of our staff, carers and volunteers of the former institutions who strived to do their best for children and young people living in alternative care. Many former clients report positive experiences, nonetheless, we acknowledge and deeply regret that the experience of some children and young people living in our care caused them hurt and anguish, which has continued to impact on their lives as adults.

    We express our heartfelt regret and contrition about the experience of children and young people in the care of any of our founding organisations, who may have endured pain and trauma at being separated from their parents and siblings or who suffered abuse and neglect from people entrusted to care for them. Barwon Child, Youth & Family recognises that for those people who have grown up apart from their families, they may continue to be impacted through a loss of their sense of identity and belonging, and endure ongoing painful residual effects. In respect of those people who suffered from abuse or neglect, we understand the impact these experiences have had on their ability to live meaningful, fulfilling lives and we apologise unreservedly.

    Barwon Child, Youth & Family acknowledges the bravery and courage of former residents telling their story and bringing these issues to light. We are committed to assisting them to address the pain of their past experiences in the hope that they can reach a satisfactory level of healing and recovery.