The Department of Social Welfare and Rehabilitation was established on April 1, 1949 upon the amalgamation of the Department of Social Welfare and the Department of Reconstruction and Rehabilitation. At its establishment, the department was organized into the following branches and divisions: Child Welfare Branch; Corrections Branch; Old Age Pensions Branch; Social Aid Branch; Veterans' Rehabilitation Branch; Welfare Services Division; Administration Division; Home for the Infirm; and Regina Nursing Home.
The Child Welfare Branch provided programs and services that assisted disadvantaged children and families, and included protection, adoption, foster care, the education of blind children, and assistance for unmarried parents.
The Corrections Branch managed and operated the province's jails. As well, it provided programs and services aimed at the rehabilitation of offenders. Other responsibilities of the branch included the Industrial School for Boys (renamed the Saskatchewan Boys' School in 1950) along with parole and probation programs.
The Old Age Pensions Branch administered pensions to the aged and blind, and recovered pensions from the estates of deceased pensioners. The Social Aid Branch administered resources to persons needing financial assistance or rehabilitation. Services offered included social assistance, mothers' allowances, and vocational training for the disabled and minority groups. In the 1950-51 fiscal year, the Old Age Pensions Branch and the Social Aid Branch amalgamated to become the Public Assistance Branch.
The Veterans' Rehabilitation Branch was responsible for the settlement of veterans on Crown lands, for the annual inspection of lands settled by veterans and for the administration of the land clearance project in the Carrot River area.
The Welfare Services Division (by 1951, Branch) was comprised of field staff to deliver the services offered by the department from regional offices and inspection districts throughout the province.
The Administration Division was responsible for the financial and administrative functions of the department, such as accounting, institutional purchasing, personnel, and transportation and housing services for staff.
Institutions managed and operated by the department included the Home for the Infirm at Wolseley and the Regina Nursing Home, both of which provided residence and care to the aged and infirm.
In 1951, the department underwent reorganization which resulted in the establishment of a Research and Planning Branch, Housing and Nursing Homes Branch, Rehabilitation Branch, Public Welfare Branch, and Civil Defence Branch.
The Research and Planning Branch was created to act as a research agency that collected and analyzed research on the operations of the department's various programs. It also provided facilities to the department's branches for research projects.
The Housing and Nursing Homes Branch incorporated all programs, services and institutions offering residence and care to the aged and infirm. It also administered programs related to the National Housing Act, in particular the Central Mortgage and Housing Corporation.
The Rehabilitation Branch was established to administer programs that assisted the disabled and minority groups in the province. Programs included vocational training and Métis farm labour projects.
The Public Welfare Branch was an amalgamation of the former Public Assistance, Child Welfare and Welfare Services Branches and provided programs and services offered by the former branches.
The Civil Defence Branch provided emergency response and assistance to natural and man-made disasters. In addition to disaster planning, it also offered training programs in disaster response and civil defence. The Civil Defence Branch was discontinued in April 1961 when its responsibilities were transferred to the newly-established Saskatchewan Emergency Measures which reported to Executive Council. Responsibility for emergency measures and planning was transferred back to the department in November 1962 and the Emergency Welfare Services Branch was established.
The Bureau on Alcoholism was created in November 1953. It administered programs that offered education and treatment to persons afflicted with alcoholism. The Bureau also conducted research into alcoholism and its treatment.
The Department of Social Welfare and Rehabilitation was discontinued on April 30, 1965 with the establishment of the Department of Welfare.