Indicator technical specifications
The information below provides technical specifications for the summary indicator data presented in the quick reference guide.
National Framework Indicator 0.2 Out-of-home care: Rate of children aged 0-17 years who are in out-of-home care
||Number of children aged 0–17 years who were in out-of-home care the night of 30 June
||AIHW National Child Protection Data Collection
||Number of children aged 0–17 years at 31 March
||AIHW Population Database (sourced from ABS Australian Demographic Statistics)
Out-of-home care arrangements include overnight care for children aged 0–17, where the state makes a financial payment or where a financial payment has been offered but declined by the carer. Placement types include foster care, placements with relatives or kin, residential care, family group homes, independent living, and other funded placements not otherwise categorised. In most cases, children in out-of-home care are also on a care and protection order.
National reporting based on a consistent definition of out-of-home care was agreed in 2019; it excludes children on third-party parental responsibility orders, children on immigration orders, young people aged 18 and over, and children in pre-adoptive placements from counts of children in out-of-home care. Out-of-home care trend data in this report have been back cast to 2016–17 with the national definition for out-of-home care adopted in 2018–19. Out-of-home care data in this report should not be compared with data published prior to 2018–19 when the reporting of out-of-home care was not nationally consistent.
Only children in care on the night of 30 June are reflected in the data reported for this indicator.
Differences in legislation, policies and practices in relation to out-of-home care across jurisdictions and over time can affect the number and rate of children in out-of-home care so caution must be taken when interpreting the data.
March population estimates are usually the most recent data available for the denominator at the time the rates are calculated (i.e. June estimates are not yet available).
The COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting Australian Government closure of the international border from 20 March 2020, caused significant disruptions to the usual Australian population trends. This report uses Australian Estimated Resident Population (ERP) estimates that reflect these disruptions.
Accordingly, in the year July 2020 to June 2021, the overall population growth was much smaller than the years prior and in particular, there was a relatively large decline in the population of Victoria. ABS reporting indicates these were primarily due to net-negative international migration (National, state and territory population, June 2021 | Australian Bureau of Statistics (abs.gov.au)).
Please be aware that this change in the usual population trends may complicate interpretation of statistics calculated from these ERPs. For example, rates and proportions may be greater than in previous years due to decreases in the denominator (population size) of some sub-populations.