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Care and protection orders (CPOs) are legal orders or arrangements that place some responsibility for a child’s welfare with child protection authorities. They set up arrangements to provide support and assistance to vulnerable children and young people to protect them from abuse, neglect or other harm, or where their parents are unable to provide adequate care or protection .
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Improvements in the identification of SHS clients on a CPO have led to significantly better quality data in 2015–16, therefore improving reporting on these clients (see Technical Information). For previous collection periods, those clients recorded as having a care type of either ‘parents’ or ‘other living arrangements’ were excluded from the CPO derivation. These care types are now included. Clients are now also identified as being on a CPO if they report being on a CPO in any support period during the collection period, rather than just the first. This means that analysis for these clients in 2015–16 is not directly comparable with previous years. Any comparisons with previously published data on clients on a CPO should therefore be made with caution.
In 2015–16, almost 9,000 clients or 3% of specialist homelessness service clients were identified as a child on a care and protection order (aged 0–17 years) (National supplementary table CPO.1). Compared with the general SHS client population, clients on a CPO were:
Clients on a CPO also received more days of SHS support (86 days compared with 35 (median)) and more nights of accommodation (68 nights compared with 33 (median)) than the general SHS population (Table CPO.1).
Source: Specialist Homelessness Services Collection 2015–16.
Of the 8,859 clients on a CPO in 2015–16:
Were female (50%), similar to the rate of female 0–17 year olds in the general SHS population (51%).
Were aged 0–9 (58%). Males were more likely than females to be in this age range (62% compared with 55%).
Were living with a sole parent when they sought assistance (52%). The next most common living arrangement on presentation to a SHS agency was ‘other family group’ (18%).
Were Indigenous (34%), compared with 32% of general SHS clients aged 0–17.
Accessed services in Major cities (66%) and just under 1 in 5 (18%) in Inner regional areas. This is similar to that of the general SHS population (63% and 21%, respectively).
Of care type arrangements were with ‘parent(s)’ (56%).
While clients can identify a number of reasons for seeking assistance, agencies also record the main reason for seeking assistance.
Clients on a care and protection order (68%) needed accommodation services, higher than the general SHS population (56%).
Of all clients on a CPO needed short-term or emergency accommodation, compared with 38% of the general SHS population.
Of clients on a CPO requested medium-term/transitional housing, higher than the general SHS population (27%) and these clients were almost twice as likely to be provided with this accommodation (61% of those who requested it compared with 34%, respectively).
Other general services most commonly needed by these clients were advocacy/liaison on behalf of client (62%), material aid/brokerage (44%), transport (39%) and assistance for domestic/family violence (36%). These services were needed by higher proportions of clients on a CPO than clients in the general SHS population (54%, 35%, 22% and 27%, respectively).
CPO clients were also more likely than the general SHS population to be identified as needing family/relationship assistance (34% compared with 18%), child protection services (26% compared with 5%), school liaison (18% compared with 5%) and health and medical services (18% compared with 10%).
For those clients on a care and protection order whose support had ended:
Source: Specialist Homelessness Services 2015–16, National supplementary table CPO.1 (754KB XLS).