Governments across Australia are struggling to address escalating child protection notifications, a marked increase in the number of children in State care, a decrease in the number of foster carers and chronic workforce shortages in child welfare services. This paper explores the reform process that culminated in the proclamation of the Victorian Children, Youth and Families Act, 2005 and represents an aspect of the response in Victoria to these wider issues. It explores the history of the reform from the perspective of key actors from government, non-government sectors and academics who participated in the process. The paper explores the “ingredients of social policy reform” and how the change process was managed in Victoria. It does not seek to evaluate the reform but rather to understand the complex processes through which a propitious moment for reform was both seized and constructed.