Overview

In Australia, state and territory governments are responsible for statutory child protection. Each responsible department assists vulnerable children who have been, or are at risk of being, abused, neglected or otherwise harmed, or whose parents are unable to provide adequate care and protection.

In 2020–21, about 178,800 children aged less than 18 years received child protection services. These include investigations (which may or may not lead to substantiated cases of child abuse or neglect), care and protection orders and/or out-of-home care placements. This equates to a rate of 32 per 1,000 children.

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Latest findings

56% in the OOHC study population received income support—3 times the Australian population, nearly 4 times at age 30

Females in the OOHC study population had higher income support receipt largely driven by parenting payments

58% of children aged 10–17 under youth justice supervision had received child protection services in the last 5 years

87% of foster carer households were retained in 2019–20

Indigenous children on care and protection orders at 30 June increased from about 19,700 in 2017 to about 24,200 in 2021

Between 2016–17 and 2020–21, emotional abuse remained the most common primary type of substantiated abuse or neglect

More reports and statistics on child protection can be found under Adoptions and Children & youth.