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See also AIHW glossary  

Care and protection orders
Legal orders or arrangements that give child protection departments some responsibility for a child’s welfare. See also Finalised guardianship or custody orders 

Children receiving child protection services
Children who are:

  • the subjects of an investigation of a notification
  • on a care and protection order; and/or
  • in out-of-home care.

Emotional abuse
Any act by a person having the care of a child that results in the child suffering any kind of significant emotional deprivation or trauma. Children affected by exposure to family violence are also included in this category.

Family group homes
Homes for children provided by a department or community-sector agency which have live-in, non-salaried carers who are reimbursed and/or subsidised for the provision of care.

Finalised guardianship or custody orders
Orders involving the transfer of legal guardianship to the relevant state or territory department or non-government agency. These orders involve considerable intervention in the child’s life and that of their family, and are sought only as a last resort. Guardianship orders convey responsibility for the welfare of the child to the guardian (for example, regarding the child’s education, health, religion, accommodation and financial matters). They do not necessarily grant the right to the daily care and control of the child, or the right to make decisions about the daily care and control of the child, which are granted under custody orders.

Custody orders generally refer to orders that place children in the custody of the state or territory department responsible for child protection or non-government agency. These orders usually involve the child protection department being responsible for the daily care and requirements of the child, while the parent retains legal guardianship. Custody alone does not bestow any responsibility regarding the long-term welfare of the child.

Foster care
A form of out-of-home care where the caregiver is authorised and reimbursed (or was offered but declined reimbursement) by the state/territory for the care of the child. (This category excludes relatives/kin who are reimbursed). There are varying degrees of reimbursement made to foster carers.

Independent living
Accommodation including private board and lead tenant households.

Index of Relative Socioeconomic Disadvantage
A ranking of the relative advantage or disadvantage of an area that uses a combination of Census variables relating to both advantage and disadvantage including income, education, employment, occupation, and housing.

Indigenous
Includes children of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Island descent who identify and are identified as an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander.

Investigation
Investigations are the process whereby the relevant department obtains more detailed information about a child who is the subject of a notification received between 1 July and 30 June of the relevant financial year. Departmental staff make an assessment about the harm or degree of harm to the child and their protective needs. An investigation includes sighting or interviewing the child where it is practical to do so.

Neglect
Any serious acts or omissions by a person having the care of a child that, within the bounds of cultural tradition, constitute a failure to provide conditions that are essential for the healthy physical and emotional development of a child.

New client
Those children or young people who have never previously been the subject of an investigation, any type of national care and protection order, or funded out-of-home care placement (excluding respite placements lasting less than 7 days) within the jurisdiction.

Notifications
Contacts made to an authorised department by persons or other bodies making allegations of child abuse or neglect, child maltreatment or harm to a child.

Not substantiated
A notification where an investigation concluded that there was no reasonable cause to suspect prior, current or future abuse, neglect or harm to the child. See also Substantiated.

Other out-of-home-care
Out-of-home care placements that are not otherwise categorised, including unknown placement types. This includes boarding schools; hospitals; hotels/motels; and the defence forces.

Out-of-home care
Overnight care for children aged 0–17 years, where the state makes a financial payment or where a financial payment has been offered but has been declined by the carer. See also Residential care, Family group homes, Foster care, Relative/kinship care, Independent living, Other out-of-home care 

Physical abuse
Any non-accidental physical act inflicted upon a child by a person having the care of a child.

Rate
A rate is one number (the numerator) divided by another number (the denominator). The numerator is commonly the number of events in a specified time. The denominator is the population 'at risk' of the event. Rates are generally multiplied by a number such as 1,000 to create whole numbers.

Relative kinship care
A form of out-of-home care where the caregiver is:

  • a relative (other than parents)
  • considered to be family or a close friend
  • a member of the child or young person’s community (in accordance with their culture)
  • who is reimbursed by the state/territory for the care of the child (or who has been offered but declined reimbursement).

For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, a kinship carer may be another Indigenous person who is a member of their community, a compatible community or from the same language group.

Repeat clients
Children or young people who have previously been the subject of an investigation; or were discharged (according to national specifications) from any type of national care and protection order or funded out-of-home care placement (excluding respite placements lasting less than 7 days); or whose earliest order and/or placement in the current reporting period is part of a preceding continuous episode of care.

Residential care
Where the placement is in a residential building whose purpose is to provide placements for children and where there are paid staff.

Sexual abuse
Any act by a person, having the care of a child that exposes the child to, or involves the child in, sexual processes beyond his or her understanding or contrary to accepted community standards.

Socioeconomic status
An indication of how 'well off' a person or group is. In this report, socioeconomic status is mostly reported using the Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas, typically for 5 groups, from the most disadvantaged (worst off) to the most advantaged (best off).

Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas (SEIFA)
A set of indexes created from Census data that aim to represent the socioeconomic status of Australian communities and identify areas of advantage and disadvantage. The index value reflects the overall or average level of disadvantage/advantage of the population of an area; it does not show how individuals living in the same area differ from each other in their socioeconomic status. This report uses the Index of Relative Socioeconomic Advantage and Disadvantage.

Substantiation
Substantiations of notifications received during the current reporting year refer to child protection notifications made to relevant authorities between 1 July and 30 June of the relevant financial year, which were investigated and the investigation was finalised by 31 August, and where it was concluded that there was reasonable cause to believe that the child had been, was being, or was likely to be, abused, neglected or otherwise harmed. Substantiation does not necessarily require sufficient evidence for a successful prosecution and does not imply that treatment or case management was provided. Substantiations may also include cases where there is no suitable caregiver, such as children who have been abandoned or whose parents are deceased.

Type of abuse or neglect
Substantiations are classified into four categories: physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse and neglect. Each category includes findings of actual harm or significant risk of harm. Where more than one type of abuse or neglect has occurred, the substantiation should be classified to the type likely to be the most severe in the short term or to place the child at risk in the short term—or, if such an assessment is not possible, classified to the most obvious form of abuse or neglect. See also physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse and neglect.