Established in Kew in 1922 for children aged three to five, St Anthony’s relocated to Footscray in the 1970s to support families to stay safe together.
St Anthony’s Home for Little Children was established at Kew in August 1922, primarily to manage overcrowding from St Joseph’s Babies’ Home in Broadmeadows. To avoid placing children thought to be too young to live with older children, St Anthony’s cared for those aged between three and five years.
In 1943, the Catholic Social Services Bureau requested St Anthony’s care only for boys aged between three and six, however by the mid-1950s, if one of the boys had a sister, she was also accepted into the home.
In a move away from institutionalised living, St Anthony’s redeveloped its home enabling children to be placed together in small groups. This style of living was reflected the Catholic welfare system’s first ‘cottage home’.
St Anthony’s relocated to Footscray in the mid-1970s, supporting at-risk families living in Melbourne’s west. Intensive work was done to work with parents at risk of having their children removed to ensure families remained together.