Accessibility/Remoteness Index of Australia (ARIA): The ARIA provides classification of the level of accessibility to goods and services (such as general practitioners, hospitals and specialist care) based on the proximity to these services (measured by road distance).

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 order, finalised third-party parental responsibility order, finalised supervisory order, interim and temporary order, and administrative arrangement.

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.

disability: An umbrella term for any or all of: an impairment of body structure or function, a limitation in activities, or a restriction in participation. Disability is a multidimensional concept, and is considered as an interaction between health conditions and the environment.

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.

Finalised guardianship or custody orders can be long-term orders or short-term orders.

finalised supervisory order: An order giving the department responsible for child protection some responsibility for a child’s welfare. Under this order, the department supervises and/or directs the level and type of care that is to be provided to the child. A child under a supervisory order is generally under the responsibility of his or her parents, and the guardianship or custody of the child is unaffected. This means finalised supervisory orders are less interventionist than finalised guardianship or custody orders, but require the child’s parent or guardian to meet specified conditions, such as medical care of the child.

finalised third-party parental responsibility order: Order transferring all duties, powers, responsibilities and authority to which parents are entitled by law to a nominated person(s) whom the court considers appropriate. The nominated person may be an individual such as a relative or an officer of the state or territory department. Third-party parental responsibility may be ordered in the event that a parent is unable to care for a child, with parental responsibility then transferred to a relative.

Finalised third-party parental responsibility orders can be long-term orders or short-term orders.

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 Socio-Economic Advantage and Disadvantage (IRSAD): One of the set of Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas for ranking the average socioeconomic conditions of the population in an area. It is 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 and/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.

long term care: Children who had been continuously in out-of-home care for 2 or more years.

long-term orders: Transfer guardianship/custody to the nominated person for a specified period greater than 2 years; generally until the child reaches the age of 18.

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.

non-Indigenous: Describes children who have not been identified as being of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander descent; this excludes children of unknown Indigenous status.

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 under 18 for which there is ongoing case management and financial payment (including 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.

permanency planning: The processes used by state and territory departments responsible for child protection to achieve a stable long-term care arrangement (which can be broadly grouped as reunification, third-party parental responsibility orders, long-term finalised guardianship/custody/ care, and adoption).

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.

reunification: A planned process of safely returning and enabling a child to remain at home with their birth parent(s), family, or former guardian after a period of time in care when it is in the child’s best interests to do so, and where it will safeguard the child’s long-term stability and permanency. In practice, reunification tends to be nearly exclusively with birth parents. Also known as restoration.

remoteness classification: Each state and territory is divided into several regions based on their relative accessibility to goods and services (such as general practitioners, hospitals and specialist care) as measured by road distance. These regions are based on the Accessibility/Remoteness Index of Australia (ARIA) and defined as Remoteness Areas by either the Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC) (before 2011) or the Australian Statistical Geographical Standard (ASGS) (from 2011 onwards) in each Census year.

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.

short-term orders: Orders that transfer guardianship/custody to the nominated person for a specified period of 2 years or less.

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.

third-party parental care: Placement for children on third-party parental responsibility orders. See finalised third-party parental responsibility orders.

type of abuse or neglect: One of the 4 types, or categories, of substantiations: physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, and neglect. Each category includes findings of actual harm or significant risk of harm. Where more than 1 type of abuse or neglect has occurred, the substantiation is classified to the type likely to be the most severe in the short term, or to place the child most 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.