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

58 per 1,000 Indigenous children and young people aged 0–17 are in out-of-home care

54% of children aged 0–17 in out-of-home care are placed with relatives or kin

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

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

Between 2016–17 and 2020–21, the rate of children subject to notifications increased from 43 to 52 per 1,000

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

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