9.3 Family contact

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 contact with family members, as appropriate, 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 their satisfaction with three types of contact with family they don’t live with: visiting, talking and writing.

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.

‘Satisfactory contact’ refers to the number of family contact types (visiting, talking and writing) the child reported satisfaction with.

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 9.3 Family contact: Proportion of children and young people who report having contact with family members, by the reported frequency of contact, by their reported satisfaction with contact arrangements
  Definition Data source
Numerator Number of children aged 8-17 years in care who report satisfaction with at least one type of contact with non-coresident family 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 three questions ‘For family you don’t live with: Do you get to visit your family?’, ‘For family you don’t live with: Do you get to talk to your family (including phone calls)’, and ‘For family you don’t live with: Do you get to write to your family? (including emails, messaging, letters)’. The questions had three response categories: Less than I want, As much as I want, More than I want.

‘Family’ was broadly self-defined by the responding children. Children in care may not distinguish between biological and non-biological relationships (e.g. biological, half, step, de facto, kinship and carer relationships).

For more information how the numerator was derived for each contact type see the data tables available on the survey website.

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

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