In Australia, state and territory governments are responsible for statutory child protection. Relevant departments support 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 or protection.

In 2022–23, around 1 in 32 (180,000) Australian children aged under 18 came into contact with the child protection system. Contact includes investigations (which may or may not lead to substantiated child maltreatment), care and protection order and/or out-of-home care placements.

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Latest findings

In 2022–23, about 180,000 children came into contact with the system, an increase from about 178,000 in 2021–22

Between 2018–19 and 2022–23, the rate of children who were subjects of notifications increased from 48 to 51 per 1,000

Between 2018–19 and 2022–23, the rate of children with substantiations remained relatively stable around 8.0 per 1,000

In 2020–21, 1 in 5 children in out-of-home care were reunified with family

In 2019–20, most children (87%) who exited out-of-home care to a permanency outcome did not return within 12 months

In 2020–21, about three-quarters of children received a permanency outcome within 2 years of entering out-of-home care

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