About Us

Taking offenders under the custody of probation was initiated by the Probation Ordinance passed by the State Council of Ceylon in 1944. It was expected that people who committed a legal offense would be rehabilitated under the supervision of probation officers without imprisoning them. Accordingly, the Probation Service was founded and officers were recruited from year 1944 under this Ordinance to perform the duties of the Probation Officer. Prior to that, the Orphanage Ordinance was passed in 1942, which legalized the enrolment of orphans and abandoned children to orphanages. In the same year, the Adoption of Children Ordinance was passed and started to give children away to be adopted legally. Child Detention Homes and Certified Schools for the residential rehabilitation of convicted children were also established under the Children and Young Persons Ordinance passed in 1939.

Thus, these services, which started to operate legally for the welfare of children and for the rehabilitation of offenders, were implemented through various Government Institutions at that time. With the establishment of the Department of Probation and Child Care Services on October 1, 1956, this Child Care Service and the Convict Rehabilitation Service were combined and one Commissioner was appointed to Probation and Child Care Services for the entire island. Accordingly the above services were implemented under him and Probation Officers were also assigned to this department. After that, the offices for Assistant Commissioners were established according to the judicial zones and Probation Offices were established in relation to several judicial divisions, thus starting thereby to operate the Probation and Childcare Service as an all island service. The services of rehabilitation of offenders referred by the courts, providing reports to the courts regarding the offenders, providing reports to courts under the Children and Young Persons’ Ordinance, identifying orphans and destitute children under the Orphanage Ordinance, registration and supervision of orphanages were accomplished under Probation Officers. Also, in 1956, Children’s Detention Homes and Certified Schools were handed over to the Department of Probation and Child Care Services. Further, Children’s Homes which were fully operated under the government were also established.

Thus, the Probation and Child Care Service, which operated under one Commissioner, was completely decentralized as a Provincial Council subject by the 13th Amendment to the Constitution that came into effect in 1987. Accordingly, the Department of Probation and Child Care Services of Western Province was established on January 1, 1990. Therefore, the voluntary orphanages, probation offices, detention homes, certified schools and government children’s homes that were operating in the Western Province were assigned to the Western Provincial Council. In this way, about 50-60 voluntary orphanages, two certified schools for boys and girls, two detention homes for boys and girls, two Receiving Centers for children and 12 probation offices were assigned to the Western Province. The Western Provincial Probation and Childcare Service started to operate from that day onwards.

A Provincial Probation Commissioner was appointed and a Department was established to implement the probation and childcare service, which started as a subject of the Provincial Council, and a Provincial Minister was also appointed for the subject. There was no permanent building for the Head Office of this Department and as a result the Department was shifted to the rented out buildings from time to time. Around the year 2004, this Department was brought to the ground floor of the Provincial Council building located at Densil Kobbekaduwa Mawatha, Koswatta, Battaramulla. From that year to June 2018, the Department was maintained in the old Provincial Council building and from June 2018, this Department was established on the 8th floor of the New Provincial Council Office Complex. From 1990 to 2019, about 13 Commissioners held the said post of this Department. The two Certified Schools and the two Detention Homes located in Makola and Rammuthugala and the Government Child Development Center located in Panadura City Center which are operating under this department are established in the lands belonging to the government. The land and building of the other Government Receiving Center located in Bellantara area of Dehiwala was taken over to the Provincial Department of Social Services. Twelve Probation Offices are maintained at the judicial division level in the Western Province, 6 of which are located in government-owned lands and buildings, 4 in rented buildings and 2 in court buildings. There are about a total of 300 employees including Probation Officers, officers and employees of the five Institutions and officers and employees of the Head Office of this Department. Although, there were 120 orphanages and 50-60 voluntary orphanages at the beginning, the Orphanage Ordinance was amended in the year 2008 and the Provincial Council adopted the Child Development Centers Statute. The institutions that were operated as orphanages until then were introduced as Child Development Centers and 120 registered Child Development Centers are currently being operated under this Statute. There are between 3000-3500 children residing in these Child Development Centers daily. Apart from that, about 120 children are staying daily in the five Government Institutions. In addition, 35 voluntary Child Day Care Centers are also registered in this Department. Further, three voluntary Detention Homes for girls are also operating. The Circulars and Standing Orders unique to this Department have been existing since 1956 and from the year 2009 new Circulars were introduced by this Provincial Department to replace the old circulars and the contents of those circulars were expanded and new circulars were also introduced according to contemporary needs.