0.2 Out-of-home care

Out-of-home care is provided across Australia for children who are unable to live with their families, generally because of child abuse or neglect or because their family is unable to care for them (for example, due to illness or incarceration).

Although out-of-home care may be beneficial for children who are unsafe living with their families of origin, it is generally viewed as an intervention of last resort, and there is a preference for children to be reunited with their birth parents wherever possible.

For all indicator displays, where all years of data are comparable over time an ‘All’ category will be provided as an option in the ‘Year’ drop down display. If only a selection of specific years are comparable, these years (e.g. 2017 to 2019) will be provided as an option under ‘Year’ and ‘All’ will not be an option. See the footnotes for this indicator in the supplementary tables hyperlink below for further information.

See the XLS Downloadsupplementary table for this indicator for further information and footnotes about these data.

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
  Definition Data source
Numerator 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
Denominator Number of children aged 0–17 years at 31 March AIHW Population Database (sourced from ABS Australian Demographic Statistics)

Explanatory notes

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 of some kind.

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).

See the XLS Downloadsupplementary table for this indicator for further information and footnotes about these data.