Child protection Australia 2014-15 is the nineteenth annual comprehensive report on child protection. This report includes detailed statistical information on state and territory child protection and support services, and some of the characteristics of children receiving these services. Key findings are outlined below.

1 in 35 children received child protection services, with 73% being repeat clients

  • In 2014-15, 151,980 children received child protection services. This equates to 1 in 35 Australian children aged 0-17 who had an investigation, care and protection order and/or were placed in out-of-home care.
  • This was a 6% rise over the past 12 months, from 143,023 children in 2013-14.
  • Three (3) in 5 (60%) of these children were the subject of an investigation only (that is, they were not subsequently placed on an order or in out-of-home care), while 8% were involved in all three components of the system.
  • Almost three-quarters (73%) of these children were repeat clients in 2014-15; that is, they had been the subject of an investigation, care and protection order and/or out-of-home care placement in a previous financial year.

Substantiation rates were stable despite longer term increases in numbers

  • Rates of substantiated child abuse and neglect have remained relatively stable since 2012-13, at around 8.0 per 1,000 children. This is despite an increase in the number of children who were the subject of substantiations, which has risen by 35% since 2010-11 (from 31,527 to 42,457 in 2014-15).
  • One (1) in 5 children were the subjects of multiple substantiations in 2014-15.

Rates of children on care and protection orders and in out-of-home care continued to rise

  • From 30 June 2011 to 2015, the rate of children aged 0-17 on orders rose from 7.7 to 9.1 per 1,000. There were over 48,700 children on a care and protection order at 30 June 2015.
  • Over the same period, the rate of children in out-of-home care increased from 7.4 to 8.1 per 1,000. There were almost 43,400 children in out-of-home care at 30 June 2015.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children continued to be over-represented

  • In 2014-15, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children were 7 times as likely as non-Indigenous children to be receiving child protection services (146.4 per 1,000 children compared with 20.5 for non-Indigenous children).

Emotional abuse and neglect were the most common types of abuse/neglect

  • Emotional abuse and neglect were the most common primary and co-occurring types of substantiated abuse and neglect.

Large proportions of carer households had multiple children placed

  • During 2014-15, there were 12,948 foster carer households and 18,401 relative/kinship carer households with a placement.
  • Just over half (52%) of foster carer households and almost two-fifths (39%) of relative/kinship carer households had more than 1 child placed with them at 30 June 2015.