9.2 Family connection

Children may be in care due to abuse or neglect, or because their family is unable to care for them (for example, due to illness or incarceration). It is important that children maintain connections with family members during their time in care.

This indicator uses results from a national survey of children in care; those whose care arrangements have been ordered through the Children’s Court, where parental responsibility for the child or young person has been transferred to the Minister/Chief Executive.

Children were asked about how close they felt (that is, how important and special they are to you) to the people they are living with now (coresident family) and family they don’t live with (non-coresident family).

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 XLS Downloadquick reference guide.

National Standards Indicator 9.2 Family connection: Proportion of children and young people who report they have an existing connection with at least one family member which they expect to maintain
  Definition Data source
Numerator Number of children aged 8-17 years in care who report they feel close to their coresident family, non-coresident family, or both AIHW Out-of-home care survey national dataset
Denominator Number of responding children aged 8-17 years in the reference period AIHW Out-of-home care survey national dataset

Explanatory notes

Data are sourced from a national survey of children in care. Further interpretive information for the indicators, and background information on the survey, is provided in the AIHW report The views of children and young people in out-of-home care: overview of indicator results from second national survey, 2018.

Children ‘in care’ are those who were residing in out-of-home care (including foster care, relative/kinship care, family group homes, residential care and independent living), whose care arrangements had been ordered by the relevant Children’s Court and where the parental responsibility for the child had been transferred to the Minister or Chief Executive, and who had been on a relevant court order for three months or more. Please note that the titles of the relevant ‘Children’s Courts’ may vary across states/territories.

Children aged 8-17 years were asked two questions ‘How close do you feel to the people you are living with now?’ and ‘How close do you feel to family members who you don’t live with?’ ‘How close’ was described as ‘how important and special they are to you’. The questions had four response categories: Very close, Fairly close, A bit close, Not close at all.

‘Family’ was broadly self-defined by the responding children. Children in care may not distinguish between biological and non-biological relationships, and may feel equally close to their birth family, carer family and others in their current placement.

The numerator includes children who reported ‘Very close’ or ‘Fairly close’ to one or both questions.

The numerator and denominator exclude children with a ‘not stated’ response to one or both questions.

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