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Presents statistics on children on care and protection orders based on data provided by state and territory welfare departments for the year 1 July to 30 June the following year.
This report presents statistics on children on care and protection orders (guardianship and non-guardianship) in Australia at 30 June 1996. Data on the number of children admitted to and discharged from care and protection orders during the 1995-96 financial year are also presented.
Where a child is assessed to be 'in need of care and protection' the community services department in each State and Territory has the power to apply to the court (usually the Children's Court or equivalent) to seek a care and protection order. Each jurisdiction has its own legislation regarding when a child is 'in need of care and protection', but generally this includes where a child has been abused or neglected, a child has been abandoned by their caregiver, there is an irretrievable breakdown between a parent and a child or a child is a threat to themselves or others. It should be noted that recourse to the courts and the placing of a child on an order is used only as a last resort where other forms of intervention or assistance have been unsuccessful or are inappropriate.
For the purposes of this data collection, care and protection orders have been divided into 'guardianship' and 'non-guardianship' care and protection orders. Guardianship orders involve the transfer of legal guardianship of the child to an authorised department. Non guardianship care and protection orders include custody and supervisory orders and undertakings. The number and types of non-guardianship orders vary considerably, and as a result care should be taken in comparing the numbers and rates of children on these orders across jurisdictions. It should be also be noted that children on interim orders, orders not issued through a court, permanent care orders in Victoria, and South Australian orders granting guardianship to a third party are excluded from the data.
The main points of interest are:
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