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released: 21 Jan 2011 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. Across Australia in 2009-10 over 187,000 children were the subject of a child protection notification; just over 31,000 children were the subject of a substantiation; around 37,000 children were on care and protection orders; almost 36,000 children were living in out-of-home care; and there were almost 8,050 foster carer households.

ISSN 1320-081X; ISBN 978-1-74249-103-5; Cat. no. CWS 39; 152pp.; Internet only

Summary

Child Protection Australia 2009–10 is the fourteenth 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. Statistical comparisons between states and territories should therefore be treated with caution. 

Main findings

Nationally this report shows that:

  1. The number of children subject to a notification of child abuse or neglect and the number subject to a substantiation of a notification have decreased over the past year.
  2. The number of children under care and protection orders and the number in out-of- home care are rising.
  3. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are over-represented in all of these areas of the child protection system.

Notifications, investigations and substantiations

  • In the last 12 months:
    • The number of children subject to a notification decreased by 10% from 207,462 to 187,314.
    • The number of children subject to a substantiation of a notification decreased by 4% from 32,641 to 31,295 (from 6.5 to 6.1 per 1,000 children).
  • From 2004–05 to 2009–10, the number of children subject to a substantiation of a notification decreased by 8% from 34,046 to 31,295 (7.1 to 6.1 per 1,000 children). 

Children on care and protection orders

  • In the last 12 months, the number of children on care and protection orders increased by 7% from 35,409 to 37,730 (7.0 to 7.4 per 1,000 children). 
  • Since 2005, the number of children on care and protection orders increased by 57% from 24,075 to 37,730 (5.0 to 7.4 per 1,000 children). 
  • Over the past 6 years, the number of children admitted to orders has increased by 27% from 11,492 to 14,564. However, between 2008–09 and 2009–10 the number of children admitted to orders decreased by 6% from 15,509 to 14,564.  

Recommended citation

AIHW 2011. Child protection Australia 2009-10. Child welfare series no. 51. Cat. no. CWS 39. Canberra: AIHW. Viewed 26 October 2014 <http://www.aihw.gov.au/publication-detail/?id=6442475448>.