Report on Government Services 2021
PART F, SECTION 16: RELEASED ON 20 JANUARY 2021
16 Child protection services
Impact of COVID-19 on data for the Child protection services section
COVID-19 may affect data in this Report in a number of ways. This includes in respect of actual performance (that is, the impact of COVID-19 on service delivery in 2020, which is reflected in the data results), and the collection and processing of data (that is, the ability of data providers to undertake data collection and process results for inclusion in the Report).
For the Child protection services section, there are no significant changes to the data as a result of COVID-19.
This section reports on the performance of governments in providing child protection, out-of-home care, family support services and intensive family support services.
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- Key Facts
- Indicator Framework
- Indicator Results
- Indigenous Data
Nationally, 48 886 children aged 0–17 years were the subject of a substantiation in 2019-20.
Nationally, at 30 June 2020:
- 60 903 children aged 0–17 years were on care and protection orders, 23 344 of whom were Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children
- 45 996 children were in out-of-home care, 18 862 of whom were Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children
- 9677 children were in other supported placements, 2719 of whom were Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.
Total recurrent expenditure on child protection intervention, care services (out-of-home care and other supported placements), family support services and intensive family support services was $6.9 billion nationally in 2019‑20 — a real increase of 4.7 per cent from 2018‑19.
Child protection services provide supports and interventions to promote child and family wellbeing, and to protect children and young people aged 0‑17 years who are at risk of abuse and neglect within their families, or whose families do not have the capacity to provide care and protection.
To achieve these aims, governments seek to provide child protection services that:
- are responsive, ensuring that notifications are responded to, and investigations are completed, in a timely and appropriate manner
- are targeted to children and young people who are at greatest risk
- support and strengthen families so that children can live in a safe and stable family environment
- provide quality care for children and young people aged 0–17 years who cannot live with their parents for reasons of safety or family crisis, with an emphasis on safety, stability and permanency in children's living arrangements
- meet the needs of individual children and young people in the child protection system.
Governments aim for child protection services to meet these objectives in an equitable and efficient manner.
The performance indicator framework provides information on equity, efficiency and effectiveness, and distinguishes the outputs and outcomes of child protection services. The performance indicator framework shows which data are complete and comparable in this Report.
An overview of the Child protection services performance indicator results are presented. Information to assist the interpretation of these data can be found in the indicator interpretation boxes in the Child protection services section and data tables.
Disproportionality ratios for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in the child protection system, 2019-20
|Care and protection orders||6.3||13.5||5.3||8.2||7.3||3.2||10.2||2.1||..|
Effectiveness — Access indicators
Response times — commencing investigations
Proportion of investigations commenced within 7 days of, or 29 days or more from, notification, 2019-20 (per cent)
|Within 7 days||57.1||74.3||28.9||81.2||76.9||6.9||67.4||87.3||59.6|
|29 days or more||10.4||1.6||40.5||8.6||5.6||78.0||1.6||1.1||13.2|
Response times — completing investigations
Proportion of investigations completed within 28 days of, or more than 90 days from, notification, 2019-20 (per cent)
|Within 28 days||10.9||40.7||13.1||19.5||21.5||6.7||10.4||24.5||19.3|
|More than 90 days||36.8||11.3||42.0||38.3||36.4||72.6||3.0||37.0||31.8|
Proportion of finalised child protection investigations that were substantiated, 2019-20
Effectiveness — Quality indicators
Safety in care
Children in care who were the subject of a substantiation and the person responsible was living in the household providing care, as a proportion of all children in care, 2019-20
Effectiveness — Appropriateness indicators
Stability and permanency of placement
Proportion of children on a care and protection order exiting care after less than 12 months, or after 12 months or more, in one or two placements, 2019-20 (per cent)
|< 12 months||89.8||89.0||84.3||91.1||75.0||100.0||76.9||79.1||87.6|
|> 12 months||55.3||59.9||42.0||62.4||34.9||49.3||60.6||32.6||52.6|
Proportion of children in out-of-home care for two years or more with one or two placements, 2019-20 (per cent)
Children in home-based care
Proportion of children aged under 12 years in out‑of‑home care who were in a home‑based placement at 30 June 2020
Placement maintains connections
Proportion of children in out-of-home care placed with relatives/kin at 30 June 2020
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in out-of-home care placed with relatives/kin, other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander carer or Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander residential care at 30 June 2020
Children with current documented case plans
Proportion of children with current documented case plans, 2019-20
Efficiency — Inputs per output unit indicators
Unit cost for protective intervention services activity groups
Cost per notification investigated, 2019-20
|$||1 339||1 813||1 884||3 248||2 366||6 154||3 391||864||..|
Unit cost for support services
Cost per child receiving intensive family support services, 2019-20
|$||11 655||9 693||6 232||5 138||16 527||3 162||15 761||8 764||18 920||8 804|
Unit cost of care
Cost per placement night in care, 2019-20
Substantiation rate after decision not to substantiate, within 3 and 12 months, 2018‑19 (per cent)
Substantiation rate after a prior substantiation, within 3 and 12 months, 2018‑19 (per cent)
Children on guardianship/custody orders achieving the national benchmarks, reading and numeracy, 2019 (per cent)
Exit from out-of-home care to a permanency arrangement
Children who exited out-of-home care to a permanency arrangement who did not return within 12 months, 2018‑19 (per cent)
These data and caveats for these data are available in section 16 and relevant data tables.
na Not available. .. Not applicable. – Nil or rounded to zero.
Performance indicator data for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in this section are available in the data tables listed below. Contextual data and further supporting information can be found in the section.
|Table number||Table title|
|Table 16A.9||Disproportionality ratios for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children|
|Table 16A.17||Children in out-of-home care for two years or more, by Indigenous status, at 30 June|
|Table 16A.19||Children in care and in a home-based placement, by Indigenous status, by age, at 30 June|
|Table 16A.21||Children in care placed with relatives/kin, by Indigenous status, 30 June|
|Table 16A.22||Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in care by relationship of caregiver, 30 June|
|Table 16A.23||Children aged 0-17 years with documented case plans, by Indigenous status, at 30 June|
|Table 16A.40||Children exiting out-of-home care to a permanency arrangement, by Indigenous status|