1.4 Stability during the year

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 from the 2018–19 reporting period onwards are based on this nationally agreed definition and, where possible, back cast to 2016–17. These 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 in out-of-home care who have only had 1 or 2 placements during the year can be used as a broad indicator of stability.

It is important to note that children can have multiple short-term placements for appropriate reasons. It may also be desirable to change placements to achieve better compatibility between a child and family. Older children are also more likely to have multiple placements as they move towards independence and voluntarily seek alternate placements.

Trend data: For all indicator displays, the yearly trend is limited to indicators with 3 or more years (including the current year) of comparable time series data. To see the trend click on “Yearly Trend” button on the display. Where 3 or more years of comparable data including the most recent year is not available, a “No time series data” message is shown on the display.

The figure shows the proportion of children in out-of-home care at 30 June who had 1 or 2 placements during the year, 2013 to 2020. The proportion was 92.1% for 2020.

Source: AIHW Child Protection Data Collection

See the supplementary data tables 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 Standards Indicator 1.4 Stability during the year: Proportion of children in out-of-home care at 30 June who had 1 or 2 placements during the year 
  Definition Data source
Numerator Number of children aged 0-17 years in out-of-home care at 30 June who had one or two placements in the previous 12 months AIHW National Child Protection Data Collection
Denominator Number of responding children aged 0-17 years in out-of-home care at 30 June AIHW National Child Protection Data Collection

Explanatory notes

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 and so caution must be taken when interpreting the data.

These data capture children in out-of-home care at 30 June. It captures the number of placements the child had during the previous 12 months (i.e. from 1 July to 30 June). Where the child was not in continuous out-of-home care for the full 12 months, the number of placements during the most recent out-of-home care episode is calculated (i.e. from the date of the most recent entry to care, to 30 June). Each placement is only counted once, and a return to a previous placement is not counted as a different placement.