Department of Health and Human Services, Melbourne
In 1877 the Victorian Infant Asylum was founded in Kew. In 1881, the asylum relocated to Berry Street in East Melbourne. By 1908, it was called the Foundling Hospital and Infants Home. It was non-denominational and controlled by a committee of management.
By 1956, Berry Street consisted of a Mothercraft Training Centre and two main residential units: Berry Street for infants aged zero to 18 months, and Vale Street for toddlers aged zero to two years old. In August 1956, Berry Street was declared an approved category 2 Children's Home. In 1960, Vale Street was converted to an adult nursing home.
In 1964, the name was changed to Berry Street Babies Home and Hospital. Berry Street was also an approved adoption agency.
By 1968, Berry Street comprised the Training School for Mothercraft Nurses, the adoption agency, an infant life-protection house, a long-stay home for children to three years of age (the toddlers’ wing) and a small house for unmarried mothers.
The home's infant life-protection work was seen as a critical agency function, particularly where family illness was putting pressure on mothers and Berry Street was able to provide respite and support.
By the late 1960s, 30–40 adoptions annually were being arranged from Berry Street.
By 1974 the home's orientation had shifted. Four family group homes had been established (two in Burwood, one in Ashburton and one in St Kilda), the mothercraft training function had been phased out, the toddlers wing converted to day care, and the main building (containing the nursery, administration, kitchen, dining room and single mothers accommodation) was demolished in favour of four home units, which housed 24 children, supervised by cottage parents.
Berry Street provided short term, emergency and residential care for 'protection of infant' cases and state wards. Two flats were also established for short-term family accommodation. The nurses’ home was converted to house the home’s administration function and a social work service. The social work service coordinated family aid and family counselling services, and a neighbourhood house.
In 1975 Berry Street also provided short-term care for 42 Vietnamese children brought to Australia in the official government-sponsored airlift.
In 1976 Berry Street made application to change its category 2 Children's Home classification to category 1, as it was now catering for a wider range of children. It had ceased to be a babies’ home and hospital, and had started providing child and family care, including residential care.
In 1977 Berry Street to established a family group home in Richmond to house children affected by the closure of St Cuthbert's Children's Home in Colac. Berry Street changed its name to Berry Street Child and Family Care in 1977.
In 1978, the range of services provided by Berry Street Child and Family Care consisted of a social work counselling service, a financial aide, a family aide program using volunteers, two temporary accommodation units each housing eight children, an information and referral service, a neighbourhood house in Richmond, a day care centre for 36 children, and four family group homes.
In 1980–81 the family group homes in Burwood were sold and the resources moved to the Richmond area. In 1994, Sutherland Youth and Family Services Inc. amalgamated into Berry Street Inc.
During the 1990s, Berry Street combined with the Sutherland Community Resource Centre in Watsonia in Melbourne’s northern region.
The agency operates today as Berry Street Victoria and has service centres across metropolitan and country Victoria.