This report is the 21st comprehensive annual report on child protection. It includes detailed statistical information on state and territory child protection and support services, and selected characteristics of children receiving these services.

One in 32 children received child protection services, with 74% being repeat clients

In 2016–17, 168,352 (1 in 32) children had an investigation, care and protection order and/or were placed in out-of-home care.

Rates for children who were the subject of substantiations, on care and protection orders, and in out-of-home care continued to rise

Between 2012–13 and 2016–17, rates of children:

  • who were the subject of a substantiation rose from 7.8 to 9.0 per 1,000 children
  • on care and protection orders rose from 8.2 to 9.9 per 1,000
  • in out-of-home care rose from 7.7 to 8.7 per 1,000.

Bar chart shows a ration of 7 to 1.Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children continued to be over-represented

In 2016–17, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children were 7 times as likely as non-Indigenous children to have received child protection services.

Bar chart shows a ration of 4 to 1.Children from remote areas had the highest rates of substantiations

In 2016–17, children from Very remote areas were 4 times as likely as those from >Major cities to be the subject of a substantiation.

The majority of children in relative/kinship placements were with grandparents

At 30 June 2017, more than half (52%) of children in relative/kinship placements were placed with grandparents.

About 32,600 children had been in out-of-home care for 2 or more years

Of children who were in long-term out-of-home care in 2016–17:

  • 24% lived with a third-party carer who had long-term legal responsibility for them
  • 62% were under the long-term legal responsibility of the state or territory.