4.2 Placement stability

Care should be taken when interpreting the time series for this indicator, as it has been affected by the implementation of the national definition of out-of-home care.

As of 2019, all states and territories have adopted a nationally consistent definition of out-of-home care which 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 data for the 2018–19 reporting period are based on this nationally agreed definition and should not be compared with data for previous years or previously published out-of-home care data.

For more information on the national definition of out-of-home care, see Child protection Australia 2018–19.

Children in planned, stable out-of-home care placements tend to have better learning and psychosocial outcomes than children experiencing instability (Campo and Commerford 2016).

Children who have had only 1 or 2 placements prior to exiting out-of-home care provides a broad indicator of stability.

Children can have multiple short-term placements for appropriate reasons (for example, an initial placement followed by a longer-term placement), or it may be desirable to change placements to achieve better compatibility between a child and family. Older children are more likely to have multiple placements as they move towards independence and voluntarily seek alternate placements.

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.

Source: AIHW Child Protection Data Collection

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

References

Campo M and Commerford J 2016. Supporting young people leaving out-of-home care. CFCA Paper No. 41. Australian Institute of Family Studies: Melbourne. Viewed 13 May 2020.

Indicator technical specifications

The information below provides technical specifications for the summary indicator data presented in the quick reference guide.

National Framework Indicator 4.2 Placement stability: Proportion of children aged 0-17 years exiting out-of-home care during the year who had one or two placements
  Definition Data source
Numerator Number of children aged 0-17 years exiting out-of-home care in the reference period who had one or two placements during a period of continuous out-of-home care, and who had been in care for at least 30 days, and were also on a care and protection order at some point 180 days prior to exiting care AIHW National Child Protection Data Collection
Denominator Number of children aged 0-17 years exiting out-of-home care in the reference period who were on a care and protection order at some point 180 days prior to exiting care AIHW National Child Protection Data Collection

Explanatory notes

These data capture children who exited out-of-home care in the reference period who had been in care for at least 30 days, were on a care and protection order at some point 180 days prior to exiting care, and did not return within 60 days. It captures the number of placements during the period the child was in continuous out-of-home care (from entry to exit). Each placement is only counted once, and a return to a previous placement is not counted as a different placement.

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 and so caution must be taken when interpreting the data.

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