4.3 Carer retention

Foster care households are private households containing one or more foster carers:

  • who have undergone the relevant screening/selection and approval process
  • who have received authorisation from the relevant department or agency to enable a child to be placed in their care
  • for whom reimbursement is available from the state or territory government for expenses incurred in caring for a child
  • who are part of an ongoing review process.

This indicator provides information on carer households that were retained in a given year. Effective retention of carer households increases the likelihood that children are placed with skilled, experienced carers and have stable and secure placements. The indicator also provides information on the number of foster child placements that retained households provided during the 12 month period.

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 supplementary 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 4.3 Carer retention: Proportion of out-of-home carer households that were retained in a given year
  Definition Data source
Numerator Number of carer households that were authorised to provide foster care placements at 30 June of the previous year (the year prior to the reference year), and remained continuously authorised through to 30 June of the reference year AIHW National Child Protection Data Collection
Denominator Number of carer households that were authorised to provide foster care placements at 30 June of the previous year, who also had a placement during the previous year AIHW National Child Protection Data Collection

Explanatory notes

The rate reported for the reference year is defined in terms of retention from the previous year.

The denominator data for this indicator is restricted to those who were authorised to provide foster care on the night of 30 June in the previous year, who also had a placement in the previous year. This more accurately captures the pool of ‘active’ carers (those providing regular placements) in the denominator.

Due to variation in authorisation policies and practices across jurisdictions, carer households are considered a more appropriate and comparable reporting unit than number of individual carers.

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 carers 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.