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Report on Government Services 2018

Part F, Chapter 16

Child protection services

This chapter 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, 49 315 children aged 0–17 years were the subject of a substantiation in 2016‑17.

At 30 June 2017:

  • 54 666 children aged 0–17 years were on care and protection orders nationally, 19 662 of whom were Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
  • 47 915 children were in out-of-home care nationally, 17 664 of whom were Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander.

Total recurrent expenditure on child protection, out-of-home care, family support services and intensive family support services was $5.2 billion nationally in 2016-17 — a real increase of 8.5 per cent from 2015-16.

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 the 2018 Report.

Indicator framework

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 chapter and attachment tables.

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Equity indicators

Disproportionality

Disproportionality ratio for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in the child protection system, 2016-17

Most recent data for this measure are not comparable or complete
 NSWVicQldWASATasACTNTAust
Notifications 3.90 4.69 4.06 5.22 5.13 1.27 4.33 1.79 ..
Commencing IFSS 3.48 2.70 na 3.36 7.03 na 9.44 1.88 ..
Investigations 4.70 6.87 4.08 6.27 6.97 1.75 8.48 1.88 ..
Substantiations 5.38 7.55 4.47 6.79 6.81 1.81 9.82 2.05 ..
Care and protection orders 6.86 12.35 5.32 8.43 7.37 2.73 10.26 2.09 ..
Out of home care 7.07 12.77 5.36 8.59 7.31 2.72 10.23 2.10 ..
Source: Attachment table 16A.8

Effectiveness — Access indicators

Response times — commencing investigations

Proportion of investigations commenced within 7 days of, or more than 29 days from, notification, 2016-17 (per cent)

Most recent data for this measure are not comparable but are complete, subject to caveats
 NSWVicQldWASATasACTNTAust
Within 7 days 64.1 79.4 25.4 70.6 72.9 13.3 39.1 89.6 63.1
More than 29 days 15.1 0.3 50.5 13.3 12.2 65.6 27.9 1.2 16.7
Source: Attachment table 16A.9

Response times — completing investigations

Proportion of investigations completed within 28 days of, or more than 90 days from, notification, 2016‑17 (per cent)

Most recent data for this measure are not comparable but are complete, subject to caveats
 NSWVicQldWASATasACTNTAust
Within 28 days 51.5 36.7 11.6 17.1 14.9 17.0 6.8 41.7 39.1
More than 90 days 12.2 17.1 41.9 39.3 47.1 51.0 47.1 21.4 20.8
Source: Attachment table 16A.10

Substantiation rate

Proportion of finalised child protection investigations that were substantiated, 2016‑17

Most recent data for this measure are not comparable but are complete, subject to caveats
 NSWVicQldWASATasACTNTAust
% 38.3 54.8 32.4 49.1 50.0 74.1 27.9 36.7 41.6
Source: Attachment table 16A.11

Effectiveness — Quality indicators

Safety in out-of-home care

Children in care who were the subject of a substantiation and the person responsible was living in the household providing out‑of‑home care, as a proportion of all children in care, 2016‑17

Most recent data for this measure are not comparable or complete
 NSWVicQldWASATasACTNTAust
% 2.5 1.0 na 0.2 2.8 na 0.4 na ..
Source: Attachment table 16A.13

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 after 12 months or more, in 1 or 2 placements, 2016‑17 (per cent)

Most recent data for this measure are not comparable but are complete
 NSWVicQldWASATasACTNTAust
< 12 months 91.0 88.4 86.2 87.3 83.5 90.0 92.3 66.1 87.8
> 12 months 52.2 52.1 38.2 60.7 41.0 55.7 60.7 35.1 49.0
Source: Attachment table 16A.14

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 2017

Most recent data for this measure are comparable (subject to caveats) and complete
 NSWVicQldWASATasACTNTAust
% 98.6 99.3 97.6 95.1 87.7 97.4 97.7 94.4 97.3
Source: Attachment table 16A.17

Placement maintains connections

Proportion of children in out-of-home care placed with relatives/kin, 2016-17

Most recent data for this measure are comparable (subject to caveats) and complete
 NSWVicQldWASATasACTNTAust
% 51.4 58.0 44.6 48.7 44.9 37.0 54.4 5.3 49.5
Source: Attachment table 16A.19

Proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children placed in accordance with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child Placement Principle, 2016-17

Most recent data for this measure are comparable (subject to caveats) and complete
 NSWVicQldWASATasACTNTAust
% 80.9 77.9 57.0 60.2 62.5 41.3 60.1 32.3 67.6
Source: Attachment table 16A.20

Children with current documented case plans

Proportion of children with current documented case plans, 2016-17

Most recent data for this measure are not comparable or complete
 NSWVicQldWASATasACTNTAust
% 85.6 85.3 96.2 77.2 na 60.2 73.1 63.4 85.3
Source: Attachment table 16A.21

Efficiency — Inputs per output unit indicators

Unit cost for protective intervention support services

Cost per notification investigated, 2016‑17

Most recent data for this measure are not comparable but are complete
 NSWVicQldWASATasACTNTAust
$ 858 1421 1677 2259 2728 1970 1215 486 ..
Source: Attachment tables 16A.22–30

Unit cost for out-of-home care

Cost per placement night, 2016‑17

Most recent data for this measure are not comparable but are complete
 NSWVicQldWASATasACTNTAust
$ 173.13 158.49 162.92 173.18 324.08 147.64 149.72 327.26 181.37
Source: Attachment table 16A.32

Unit cost for support services

Cost per child receiving intensive family support services, 2016‑17

Most recent data for this measure are not comparable and not complete
 NSWVicQldWASATasACTNTAust
$ 10 423 7 888 na 9 153 23 696 2 549 12 924 11 680 ..
Source: Attachment tables 16A.22–30

Outcome indicators

Improved safety

Substantiation rate after decision not to substantiate, 3 and 12 months, 2015‑16 (per cent)

Most recent data for this measure are not comparable but are complete
 NSWVicQldWASATasACTNTAust
3 months 4.5 5.6 3.8 3.8 6.2 7.2 6.8 3.0 ..
12 months 9.5 15.4 10.1 12.8 13.3 15.9 14.3 11.8 ..
Source: Attachment table 16A.34

Substantiation rate after a prior substantiation, 3 and 12 months, 2015‑16 (per cent)

Most recent data for this measure are not comparable but are complete
 NSWVicQldWASATasACTNTAust
3 months 9.1 3.0 7.4 5.5 7.1 8.1 6.1 7.7 ..
12 months 15.4 14.3 17.8 17.3 15.2 23.5 16.3 22.6 ..
Source: Attachment table 16A.35

Improved education

Children on guardianship/custody orders achieving the national benchmarks, reading and numeracy, 2013 (per cent)

Most recent data for this measure are comparable but are not complete
 NSWVicQldWASATasACTNTAust
Reading 86.0 79.2 78.0 80.1 78.9 79.2 88.2 66.7 ..
Numeracy 74.9 71.5 64.5 64.8 62.9 70.2 88.9 41.7 ..
Source: Attachment table 16A.36

Notes

These data and caveats for these data are available in chapter 16 and attachment 16A.

na Not available. .. Not applicable. np Not published.

Performance indicator data for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in this chapter are available in the attachment tables listed below. Contextual data and further supporting information can be found in the chapter.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander child protection data
Table number Table title
Table 16A.8 Disproportionality ratios for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children
Table 16A.17 Children in out-of-home care and in a home-based placement, by Indigenous status, by age, at 30 June
Table 16A.19 Children in out-of-home care placed with relatives/kin by Indigenous status, 30 June
Table 16A.20 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in out-of-home care by relationship of caregiver, 30 June
Table 16A.21 Children with documented case plans, by Indigenous status, at 30 June