This report gives an overview of the developments in policies and services in child and family welfare in Australia over the past two decades. The data for the study have been drawn from the annual reports of welfare departments of three States (New South Wales, South Australia and Tasmania), and from other documents such as Commonwealth Government departments, Australian Bureau of Statistics, and earlier studies in that field of welfare. The aim of the report was to examine Commonwealth and States initiatives in child and family welfare; to ascertain the extent and direction of these initiatives; and to identify the outcomes the interaction of these initiatives might have had on what could appropriately be called a Child and Family Welfare System in Australia. Although legally child welfare remains in the States' sphere, the entry of the Commonwealth into the field of early childhood services and subsequently into other related areas such as family support services schemes, must have been significant factors in the changes that have taken place in the States' sphere. Furthermore, the Commonwealth is the main provider of income support for dependent families as well as a provider of funds for services in other areas of child and family welfare, such as health and education. For this reason, although the main source of data in this study has come from State welfare departments, the field of child and family welfare is conceptually perceived as a system of services and provisions encompassing both the Commonwealth and the States.