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released: 8 May 2015 author: AIHW media release

This report contains comprehensive information on state and territory child protection and support services in 2013-14, and the characteristics of Australian children within the child protection system. This report shows that: - around 143,000 children, a rate of 27.2 per 1,000 children, received child protection services (investigation, care and protection order and/or in out-of-home care); - three-quarters (73%) of these children had previously been the subject of an investigation, care and protection order and/or out-of-home care placement; - Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children were 7 times as likely as non-Indigenous children to be receiving child protection services.

ISSN 1320-081X; ISBN 978-1-74249-709-9; Cat. no. CWS 52; 146pp.; $19

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Summary

Child protection Australia 2013-14 is the eighteenth annual comprehensive report on child protection. This report includes detailed statistical information on state and territory child protection and support services, and some of the characteristics of the children receiving these services. Key findings are outlined below.

1 in 37 children received child protection services, with 73% being repeat clients

  • In 2013-14, 143,023 children received child protection services. This is 1 in 37 Australian children aged 0-17 who had an investigation, care and protection order and/or were placed in out-of-home care.
  • This was a 6% rise over the past 12 months, from 135,193 children in 2012-13.
  • Almost 3 in 5 (59%) of these children were the subject of an investigation only (that is, they were not subsequently placed on an order or in out-of-home care), while 8% were involved in all 3 components of the system.
  • Almost three-quarters (73%) of these children were repeat clients in 2013-14; that is, they had been the subject of an investigation, care and protection order and or out-of-home care placement in a previous financial year.

Substantiation rates were stable despite longer-term increases in numbers

  • Rates of substantiated child abuse and neglect have remained stable since 2012-13 at 7.8 per 1,000 children. This is despite an increase in the number of children who were the subject of substantiations, rising by 31%-from 31,295 in 2009-10 to 40,844 in 2013-14.
  • As in 2012-13, 1 in 5 children were the subjects of multiple substantiations in 2013-14.

Rates of children on care and protection orders and in out-of-home care continued to rise1

  • From 30 June 2010 to 30 June 2014, the rate of children aged 0-17 on orders rose from 7.5 to 8.7 per 1,000. There were over 45,700 children on a care and protection order at 30 June 2014.
  • Over the same period, the rate of children in out-of-home care increased from 7.1 to 8.1 per 1,000. There were over 43,000 children in out-of-home care at 30 June 2014.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children continued to be over-represented

  • In 2013-14, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children were 7 times as likely as non-Indigenous children to be receiving child protection services (136.6 per 1,000 children compared with 19.0 for non-Indigenous children).

Emotional abuse and neglect were the most common types of abuse/neglect

  • Emotional abuse and neglect were the most common primary types of substantiated abuse and neglect. They were also the most likely types of co-occurring abuse or neglect, with an average co-occurrence of 29% and 26% respectively.

Large proportions of carer households had multiple children placed

  • During 2013-14, there were 12,860 foster carer households and 15,099 relative/kinship carer households with a placement.
  • Nearly half (49%) of foster carer households and almost two-fifths (39%) of relative- kinship carer households had more than one child placed with them at 30 June 2014.

Recommended citation

AIHW 2015. Child protection Australia 2013–14. Child welfare series no. 61. Cat. no. CWS 52. Canberra: AIHW.

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