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 2021–22, around 1 in 32 (178,000) 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 2021–22, about 178,000 children came into contact with the system, a decrease from about 179,000 in 2020–21

Between 2017–18 and 2021–22, the rate of children with substantiations remained relatively stable around 8 per 1,000

Since 2016–17, 4 out of 5 children who were reunified with their family did not return to care in the next 12 months.

Compared to 2020–21, the number of children with a substantiation of abuse in care decreased by 6% from 1,300 to 1,200

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