Children receiving child protection services

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This report

This report presents the latest available data on Australia’s child protection systems. It brings together information from states and territories on the provision of child protection services and the characteristics of children who receive protective services. As a result of issues experienced by jurisdictions, there are limitations to the 2017–18 data. See Box 1 for further information.

Box 1: 2017­–18 Child Protection Data Limitations

  • New South Wales upgraded their client management system in 2017–18 in an effort to improve the quality of their data for future reporting. As a result, New South Wales were unable to provide substantiation data, new or repeat client information, notification outcome data and data for care and protection orders issued in 2017–18.
  • From 2017–18, New South Wales have revised the definition of an ‘Investigation’ to include only field assessments. Therefore, figures related to ‘Children receiving child protection services’ should be interpreted with care.
  • Tasmania are no longer cross-checking Indigenous status with data from other sources. This has resulted in a larger proportion of Tasmanian children with an ‘unknown’ Indigenous status for 2017–18. This affects the reliability of data disaggregated by Indigenous status and as such, Tasmania has been excluded from all analyses comparing Indigenous and non-Indigenous children (unless otherwise specified).
  • From 2017–18, Victoria have excluded children on third-party parental responsibility orders from national out-of-home care reporting. This exclusion aligns with New South Wales and Western Australia who have excluded children on third-party orders in earlier years (in 2014–15 and 2015–16, respectively). For Victoria, this exclusion has resulted in a decrease in the number of children in out-of-home care and an increase in the number of children discharged from out-of-home care in 2017–18. As a result, Figures containing out-of-home care data are not comparable to previous years and should be interpreted with care.
  • In the Australian Capital Territory, new or repeat client information has been unavailable since 2016–17.

Given these limitations, data presented in this report should not be directly compared with data published in previous versions of Child protection Australia.

For further information, please see Child Protection Australia 2017–18.