Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2022) Child protection Australia 2020–21, AIHW, Australian Government, accessed 30 November 2022.
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. (2022). Child protection Australia 2020–21. Retrieved from https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/child-protection/child-protection-australia-2020-21
Child protection Australia 2020–21. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 15 June 2022, https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/child-protection/child-protection-australia-2020-21
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. Child protection Australia 2020–21 [Internet]. Canberra: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2022 [cited 2022 Nov. 30]. Available from: https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/child-protection/child-protection-australia-2020-21
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) 2022, Child protection Australia 2020–21, viewed 30 November 2022, https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/child-protection/child-protection-australia-2020-21
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Departments responsible for child protection provide a range of services to support children and young people in the child protection system so that they may have stable long-term care arrangements. This includes the provision of out-of-home care placements (see Box 5.1).
Some children are placed in out-of-home care when:
A nationally consistent definition for out-of-home care was implemented in 2018–19 and is presented in Box 5.1.
Out-of-home care is overnight care for children aged under 18 who are unable to live with their families due to child safety concerns. This includes placements approved by the department responsible for child protection for which there is ongoing case management and financial payment (including where a financial payment has been offered but has been declined by the carer).
Out-of-home care includes legal (court-ordered) and voluntary placements, as well as
placements made for the purpose of providing respite for parents and/or carers.
Out-of-home care excludes:
Children in out-of-home care are generally on care and protection orders that confer most or all legal responsibility for their welfare to a child protection department (Figure 5.1). These children receive ongoing case management with a view to achieving a permanent placement or reunification where appropriate.
The national definition for out-of-home care excludes children on third-party parental responsibility orders as the minister or executive no longer has guardianship of children on these orders. However, all states and territories continue to fund carers of children on third-party parental responsibility orders and some (New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia and the Australian Capital Territory) continue to provide some level of case management.
As at 30 June 2021, there were about 9,900 children on third-party parental responsibility orders (Supplementary table T3). Children on third-party parental responsibility orders are considered to have achieved a more permanent arrangement and some data are reported in the Permanency outcomes section.
Box 5.2 outlines data considerations for reporting on children in out-of-home care.
A number of considerations with data related to children in out-of-home care need to be taken into account; some notable issues are listed below:
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