Socioeconomic outcome area 12

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are not overrepresented in the child protection system

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Target 12

By 2031, reduce the rate of overrepresentation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children (0-17 years old) in out-of-home care by 45 per cent.

The data below are the most recent at the time of preparing the July 2022 report. Please go to the Dashboard to access the current data.

Nationally in 2021, the rate of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged 0–17 years in out-of-home care was 57.6 per 1000 children in the population (figure CtG12.1).

This in an increase from 54.2 per 1000 children in 2019 (the baseline year).

Nationally, based on progress from the baseline, the target is worsening. However, this assessment should be used with caution as it is based on a limited number of data points. Please see the How to interpret the data page for more information.Figure CtG12.1. Line chart showing the rate of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and non-Indigenous children (aged zero to 17 years) in out-of-home care. Along with these rates, a linear regression is displayed that shows the data trend for the target. The aim under Closing the Gap is to reduce the rate for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children by 45 per cent by 2031. With the 2019 baseline value of 54.2 per 1000 children in the population, this means a reduction to a target value of 29.8 per 1000 children in the population by 2031.

The assessment below reflects progress from the baseline (improvement, worsening or no change).
NSW Vic Qld WA SA Tas ACT NT Aust
AssessmentImprovementWorseningWorseningNo changeWorseningWorseningNo changeImprovementWorsening

right arrow improvement rectangle no change left arrow worsening not applicable as required data not available. tick good improvement and target on track to be met. circle improvement but target not on track to be met.

Note: These assessments of progress should be used with caution as they are based on a limited number of data points.

Disaggregations

By sex

Nationally in 2021, the rate of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged 0–17 years in out-of-home care was similar for males and females (58.0 and 57.0 per 1000 population respectively) (figure CtG12.2).

Figure CtG12.2. Bar chart showing the rate of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged 0-17 years in out-of-home care per 1000 population at 30 June in Australia, by sex and by year. Data table of figure CtG12.2 is below.
Data in figure CtG12.2 (rate)
201920202021
Males55.156.958.0
Females53.255.657.0

By age group

Nationally in 2021, rates for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in out-of-home care varied by age group. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged 5–9 years and 10-14 years had the highest rates of out-of-home care (65.0 and 64.6 per 1000 children respectively), while those aged under 1 year had the lowest rate (30.3 per 1000 children) (figure CtG12.3).

Figure CtG12.3. Bar chart showing the rate of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged 0-17 years in out-of-home care per 1000 population at 30 June in Australia, by age group and by year. Data table of figure CtG12.3 is below.
Data in figure CtG12.3 (rate)
201920202021
<1 years old27.028.530.3
1-4 years old48.550.250.2
5-9 years old60.762.965.0
10-14 years old61.863.264.6
15-17 years old47.451.953.4

By disability status

Nationally in 2021, 19.1 per cent of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in out-of-home care had a reported disability (figure CtG12.4). However, this proportion needs to be considered with caution as there is a large proportion of children (38.0 per cent) for whom disability status is unknown (figure CtG12.4).

Figure CtG12.4. Bar chart showing the proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged 0-17 years in out-of-home care at 30 June in Australia, by disability status and by year. Data table of figure CtG12.4 is below.
Data in figure CtG12.4 (%)
201920202021
With disabilitynpnp19.1
Without disabilitynpnpnp
Disability status unknown48.243.338.0

np Not published.  

Target data specifications

Target 12: Reduce the rate of children in out-of-home care

Outcome:

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are not overrepresented in the child protection system.

Target:

By 2031, reduce the rate of overrepresentation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children (0-17 years old) in out-of-home care by 45 per cent.

Indicator:

The rate of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged 0-17 years in out-of-home care.

Measure:

This measure is defined as:

Numerator — number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged 0-17 years in out-of-home care, at 30 June

Denominator — number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged 0-17 years in the population, at 30 June

and is presented as a rate per 1000 children.

Target established:

National Agreement on Closing the Gap July 2020

Latest dashboard update:

31 March 2022

Indicator type:

Target

Interpretation of change:

A low or decreasing rate is desirable.

Data source(s):

Name (numerator all and denominator for data by disability status): Child Protection National Minimum Data Set (CP NMDS)

Frequency: Annual

Name (denominator): Estimates and Projections for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population

Frequency: Annual (revised data for 2019 and 2020 in the March 2022 Dashboard update)

Documentation (links): https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports-data/health-welfare-services/child-protection/overview

https://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/people/aboriginal-and-torres-strait-islander-peoples/estimates-and-projections-aboriginal-and-torres-strait-islander-australians

Data provider:

Provider name (numerator): Australian Institute of Health and Welfare

Provider area: Child protection

Provider name (denominator): Australian Bureau of Statistics

Provider area: Demography

Baseline year:

2019

Latest reporting period:

2021

Target year:

2031

Disaggregations:

State and territory and Australia, by Indigenous status

State and territory and Australia, by Indigenous status, by sex

State and territory and Australia, by Indigenous status, by age

State and territory and Australia, by Indigenous status, by disability status.

Computation:

Numerator divided by Denominator multiplied by 1000

Counting rules

Includes (numerator):

  • Children in out-of-home care including where a financial payment was offered but declined by the carer.

Excludes (numerator):

  • People for whom Indigenous status was not stated.

Denominator (excluding disability status):

  • The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population is calculated from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population estimates and projections at 30 June of the reference period (series B).
  • The non-Indigenous population is calculated by subtracting the 30 June Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population from the 30 June total population (except for the most recent year, where the population at 31 March is used for the total population).

Denominator (disability status):

  • The number of children with disability in out-of-home care at 30 June

Disaggregations:

  • Sex relates to biological primary sexual characteristics, as reported by a person or as determined by an interviewer. Children classified as having an ‘indeterminate/not stated’ sex are excluded from the analysis by sex.
  • Age is based on date of birth where known but can also be collect directly or estimated. Children with unknown age are excluded from the analysis by age.
  • Disability is an indicator that a disability is experienced, and is recorded as yes (with disability), no (without disability) or not stated/inadequately described (disability status unknown). There are high proportions of children with ‘disability status unknown’ so these proportions are reported separately as part of the analysis. Disability is a multidimensional and complex concept and differences may exist across jurisdictions in how disability is defined. There are also differences in how information about disability is captured in jurisdictional processes and client information systems.

Supporting calculations

  • Rate ratio
  • Rate difference. See the How to interpret data for further information: https://www.pc.gov.au/closing-the-gap-data/how-to/interpret-data.

Data quality considerations:

2019 (to 30 June) was the first year that a single nationally consistent definition of out-of-home care has been applied across all states and territories. Prior to this, reporting of out-of-home care was not nationally consistent, and therefore historical data are not provided for this target.

Data by Indigenous status are influenced by the quality of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander identification of young people in the CP NMDS (not stated categories are reported separately in the data table).

Disaggregations:

  • Disability status: data are reported as a proportion of children in out-of-home care by their disability status, providing a different measure to other reporting for this target.

Future reporting:

Additional disaggregations required for future reporting:

  • Disability status calculated as a rate per 1000 children in the population by disability status (as per the target measure).

Supporting indicators

Driver

Contextual information

  • Proportion of children (0-17 years old) who spent time in out-of-home care by length of time categories that are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander

    e.g. 12 months, 24 months etc.

  • Measuring progress of the application of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child Placement Principle (ATSICPP): Proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in out-of-home care

    By type of placement; by relationship with caregiver

  • Proportion of children aged 0-17 in out-of-home care that are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander who were placed with relatives or kin, or other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander carers
  • Proportion of children aged 0-17 in out-of-home care that are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander who have current documented and approved cultural support plans
  • Proportion of children admitted to out-of-home care that are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
  • Proportion of children who exited out-of-home-care to a permanency outcome that are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
  • Proportion of children 0-17 discharged from out-of-home care that are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
  • Proportion of children that are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander aged 0-16 who exited out-of-home care to reunification in the previous year and did not return to out-of-home care in 12 months or less
  • Proportion of children who were subjects of substantiations of notifications that are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
  • Rates of substantiation of a notification by type of abuse

    Including emotional abuse, neglect, physical abuse and sexual abuse

  • Proportion of children who were the subject of a substantiation of a notification that are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander by type of abuse

    Including emotional abuse, neglect, physical abuse and sexual abuse


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