The School Attendance Branch appears to have been established by the Child Welfare Department (later known as the Department of Community Services) by late 1928. Frederick Stayner was appointed the Inspector-in-Charge of the Branch on 12 September 1928. (1)
The main functions of the Branch were to ensure that children of school age either attended school or were issued with a school exemption certificate, as was required by the Public Instruction (Amendment) Act 1916 (Act No.51, 1916) (as amended); to issue licenses for children to engage in street trading, or to take part in public performances, as was required by the Child Welfare Act 1923 (Act No.21, 1923), and subsequent child welfare legislation. (2)
In 1934, a Commission of Inquiry into the Child Welfare Department recommended the abolition of the Branch. However, by mid 1935, the branch appears to have been restructured instead. By late 1946, William Cunningham was the Officer-In-Charge of the Branch. (3)
In June 1973, as part of a restructure of the Department of Child Welfare and Social Welfare, the School Attendance Branch was renamed the Licensing Branch. The Branch retained responsibility for: the enforcement of compulsory school attendance, or the granting of exemption certificates; the licensing of children engaged in street trading or public performances; the licensing of child care centres and residential care facilities for children; the issue of entry certificates and the subsequent supervision of immigrant children under powers delegated by the Commonwealth Minister for Immigration. (4)
The Licensing Branch effectively became a unit of the Division of Early Childhood Services, following their amalgamation on 1 August 1978. The role of the sub-branch was described as continuing “to provide the technical information and advice necessary to ensure the establishment and maintenance of standards of child care which will promote satisfactory childhood development.” (5)
By June 1981, as part of a restructure of the Department of Youth and Community Services, the Licensing Branch and the Division of Early Childhood Services appear to have been abolished. (6)
1. Report of the Work of the Child Welfare Department for the Years of 1926, 1927, 1928, and 1929, p.6 in New South Wales Parliamentary Papers 1930–1931–1932, Vol.4, p. 766; Public Service List 1929, p.100.
2. Commission of Inquiry: Report on the general organisation, control and administration of the Child Welfare Department with special reference to State Welfare Institutions, pp.38-43 in New South Wales Parliamentary Papers 1934–1935, Vol. 1, pp.180-185.
3. Ibid p. 43; Report of the Work of the Child Welfare Department for the Years of 1932, 1933, 1934, and for part of the Year 1935, pp.5, 32 in New South Wales Parliamentary Papers 1935–1936, Vol.1, pp.195, 222; Public Service List 1946, p.127.
4. Child Welfare and Social Welfare Department report for year ended 30 June 1973, p.44 in New South Wales Parliamentary Papers 1973–1974, Vol.1, p.308.
5. Youth and Community Services: Information and Communication Unit: Annual Reports of the Department of Youth and Community Services, 1978–1983, Annual Reports 1978-1979, pp.61-63, and 1979-1980, pp.46-47, SRNSW: NRS 14777, [12/2374.13].
6. Ibid. Department of Youth and Community Services Annual Report 1980–1981, pp.7-20.