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released: 20 Jan 2012 author: AIHW media release

This report contains comprehensive information on state and territory child protection and support services, and the characteristics of Australian children within the child protection system. Key findings include: since 2009-10, the number of children subject to a notification decreased by 13% from 187,314 to 163,767; since 2006-07, the number of children subject to a substantiation of a notification has decreased by 7% from 34,028 to 31,527 (6.9 to 6.1 per 1,000 children); the number of children in out-of-home care has increased by 5% from 35,895 in 2010 to 37,648 in 2011.

ISSN 1320-081X; ISBN 978-1-74249-274-2; Cat. no. CWS 41; 142pp.; Internet only

Main findings

Child Protection Australia 2010–11 is the fifteenth annual comprehensive report on child protection. The report provides detailed statistical information on state and territory child protection and support services, and some of the characteristics of the children receiving these services. In Australia, child protection is a state and territory government responsibility, and there are significant differences in how each deals with and reports child protection issues. These differences should be taken into account when making comparisons.

Notifications decreased while substantiations remained stable

Since 2009–10, the number of children subject to a notification decreased by 13% from 187,314 to 163,767. During the same period, the number of children subject to a substantiation of a notification remained relatively stable (increasing by less than 1%) from 31,295 to 31,527. Since 2006–07, the number of children subject to a substantiation of a notification has decreased by 7% from 34,028 to 31,527 (6.9 to 6.1 per 1,000 children).

Number of children on care and protection orders and in out-of-home care continues to rise

Since 2009–10, the number of children on care and protection orders increased by 4% from 37,730 to 39,058 (7.4 to 7.6 per 1,000 children). This increase is consistent with the trend over the last 5 years (increasing by 35% from 28,954 in 2007).

The number of children in out-of-home care has increased by 5% from 35,895 in 2010 to 37,648 in 2011. Since 2007, the number of children in out-of-home care rose by 33% from 28,379 to 37,648 (5.8 to 7.3 per 1,000 children).

The majority of children (93%) in out-of-home care at 30 June 2011 were in home-based care—45% in foster care, 46% in relative/kinship care and 2.5% in other types of home-based care. This follows a similar pattern observed in previous years.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children continue to be over-represented in the child protection system

In 2010–11, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children were almost 8 times as likely to be the subject of substantiated child abuse and neglect as non-Indigenous children (rates of 34.6 and 4.5 per 1,000 children, respectively).

At 30 June 2011, the rate of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children on care and protection orders was over 9 times the rate of non-Indigenous children (rates of 51.4 and 5.4 per 1,000 children, respectively). Similarly, the rate of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in out-of-home care was 10 times the rate of non-Indigenous children (rate of 51.7 and 5.1 per 1,000 children, respectively).

Recommended citation

AIHW 2012. Child protection Australia 2010–11. Child welfare series no. 53. Cat. no. CWS 41. Canberra: AIHW. Viewed 23 December 2014 <http://www.aihw.gov.au/publication-detail/?id=10737421016>.