|This organisation was established in 1887 as the Charity Organisation Society. There was intermittent contact between this Society and its counterpart of the same name in London.
In its early years, the Society rented premises at 102a La Trobe Street, Melbourne; at 2 Johnston Street, Collingwood; at 65 Temple Court Melbourne; and at 36 Russell Street, Melbourne; but by 1903 they were installed at 47 Collins Place, Melbourne, where they remained until 1925. At this time the headquarters was moved to Morris House on the corner of Lt. Collins and Exhibition Streets. Another move was made in 1958 when they went to 62 Victoria Parade, East Melbourne, then finally in 1965 the move was made to their long term address at 197 Drummond Street, Carlton.
In 1947 the name of the organisation was changed to the Citizens Welfare Service of Victoria. It has always been a private, non denominational social welfare agency. In the early period, it was an aim of the Charity Organisation Society to co-ordinate the work of Melbourne's charitable and relief-giving organisations. Emphasis was placed on careful investigative procedures.
After World War II, with more trained social workers available, the emphasis of the service moved towards case-work counselling, though the agency continued to give material assistance particularly in the provision of hearing-aids.By 1980 the C.W.S.V. was a psychotherapy and counselling agency with no relief-giving function.
The change of name from Charity Organisation Society of Melbourne to the Citizens' Welfare Service (CWS) signalled a shift in emphasis as it moved towards employing only professionally trained social workers who used psychological insights in their interviewing and casework. Expanding its range, the CWS sought new client groups and followed Melbourne's poor out into the northern and western suburbs. Well into the 1960s, however, the organisation retained its emphasis on deserving and undeserving 'types' and on changing individual behaviour. While the social work profession moved into community development, empowerment, 'welfare rights' and an examination of the structural causes of poverty, CWS remained focused on individual psychotherapy, developing its expertise in such areas as marriage guidance and family therapy. Known since 1996 as the Drummond Street Relationship Centre, the agency provides counselling services and training in psychotherapy from its Carlton offices.
Several of Victoria's most prominent and innovative social workers worked for this organisation, including Alison Player, Len Tierney and Concetta Benn.
Successor: Drummond Street Relationship Centre 1996-2010; predecessor: Charity Organisation Society of Melbourne.