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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.

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 section and data tables.

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Equity indicators

Disproportionality

Disproportionality ratios for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in the child protection system, 2019-20

Most recent data for these measures are not comparable or complete
 NSWVicQldWASATasACTNTAust
Notifications 3.4 4.8 4.1 5.1 4.9 1.6 4.0 1.8 ..
Commencing IFSS 5.0 7.7 5.5 7.7 6.2 na 13.2 2.1 ..
Investigations 5.0 7.3 4.0 5.5 6.9 1.8 7.2 1.9 ..
Substantiations 5.3 8.2 4.5 6.5 7.3 1.8 4.9 2.0 ..
Care and protection orders 6.3 13.5 5.3 8.2 7.3 3.2 10.2 2.1 ..
Out-of-home care 6.5 15.8 5.4 8.4 7.6 3.4 10.0 2.1 ..
Source: Data table 16A.9

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)

Most recent data for these measures are not comparable but are complete, subject to caveats
 NSWVicQldWASATasACTNTAust
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
Source: Data table 16A.10

Response times — completing investigations

Proportion of investigations completed within 28 days of, or more than 90 days from, notification, 2019-20 (per cent)

Most recent data for these measures are not comparable but are complete, subject to caveats
 NSWVicQldWASATasACTNTAust
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
Source: Data table 16A.11

Substantiation rate

Proportion of finalised child protection investigations that were substantiated, 2019-20

Most recent data for this measure are not comparable but are complete, subject to caveats
 NSWVicQldWASATasACTNTAust
% 52.4 52.8 30.6 47.7 42.7 89.5 19.1 28.7 47.4
Source: Data table 16A.12

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

Most recent data for this measure are not comparable or complete
 NSWVicQldWASATasACTNTAust
% 3.0 1.2 na 0.4 0.5 2.1 na ..
Source: Data table 16A.14

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)

Most recent data for these measures are comparable and complete, subject to caveats
NSWVicQldWASATasACTNTAust
< 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
Source: Data table 16A.15

Proportion of children in out-of-home care for two years or more with one or two placements, 2019-20 (per cent)

Most recent data for these measures are comparable and complete, subject to caveats
 NSWVicQldWASATasACTNTAust
% 58.5 84.8 74.7 88.1 86.0 84.2 92.3 93.0 72.8
Source: Data table 16A.17

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

Most recent data for this measure are comparable and complete, subject to caveats
NSWVicQldWASATasACTNTAust
% 99.1 99.2 94.6 95.8 92.6 98.8 99.4 97.4 97.2
Source: Data table 16A.19

Placement maintains connections

Proportion of children in out-of-home care placed with relatives/kin at 30 June 2020

Most recent data for this measure are comparable and complete, subject to caveats
NSWVicQldWASATasACTNTAust
% 54.1 75.0 38.3 53.2 48.3 41.0 53.9 25.5 53.6
Source: Data table 16A.21

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

Most recent data for this measure are comparable and complete, subject to caveats
 NSWVicQldWASATasACTNTAust
% 73.8 79.7 49.8 62.7 63.7 46.5 64.1 34.4 64.5
Source: Data table 16A.22

Children with current documented case plans

Proportion of children with current documented case plans, 2019-20

Most recent data for this measure are not comparable or complete
 NSWVicQldWASATasACTNTAust
% 84.6 99.9 93.4 81.9 87.2 73.3 na 78.1 88.4
Source: Data table 16A.23

Efficiency — Inputs per output unit indicators

Unit cost for protective intervention services activity groups

Cost per notification investigated, 2019-20

Most recent data for this measure are not comparable but are complete, subject to caveats
 NSWVicQldWASATasACTNTAust
$ 1 339 1 813 1 884 3 248 2 366 6 154 3 391 864 ..
Source: Data tables 16A.24–31

Unit cost for support services

Cost per child receiving intensive family support services, 2019-20

Most recent data for this measure are not comparable but are complete, subject to caveats
 NSWVicQldWASATasACTNT Aus GovAust
$ 11 655 9 693 6 232 5 138 16 527 3 162 15 761 8 764 18 920 8 804
Source: Data tables 16A.33

Unit cost of care

Cost per placement night in care, 2019-20

Most recent data for this measure are not comparable but are complete, subject to caveats
 NSWVicQldWASATasACTNTAust
$ 209.20 190.66 204.35 182.18 300.36 178.66 176.51 358.89 210.62
Source: Data table 16A.35

Outcome indicators

Improved safety

Substantiation rate after decision not to substantiate, within 3 and 12 months, 2018‑19 (per cent)

Most recent data for these measures are not comparable, but are complete, subject to caveats
 NSWVicQldWASATasACTNTAust
3 months 1.6 5.6 3.5 4.1 6.9 8.0 2.2 2.0 ..
12 months 7.4 17.0 9.6 12.8 15.4 11.8 8.7 8.4 ..
Source: Data table 16A.37

Substantiation rate after a prior substantiation, within 3 and 12 months, 2018‑19 (per cent)

Most recent data for this measure are not comparable, but are complete, subject to caveats
NSWVicQldWASATasACTNTAust
3 months 8.1 2.9 6.8 6.2 8.0 5.1 7.4 2.9 ..
12 months 19.6 16.0 17.0 19.9 16.2 15.3 18.6 11.4 ..
Source: Data table 16A.38

Improved education

Children on guardianship/custody orders achieving the national benchmarks, reading and numeracy, 2019 (per cent)

Most recent data for these measures are comparable, subject to caveats, but are not complete
NSWVicQldWASATasACTNTAust
Reading na na na 71.3 70.8 na na na na
Numeracy na na na 77.5 65.5 na na na na
Source: Data table 16A.39

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)

Most recent data for these measures are comparable and complete, subject to caveats
 NSWVicQldWASATasACTNTAust
% 93.7 83.2 83.0 93.9 90.3 91.7 96.6 88.2 86.2
Source: Data table 16A.40

Notes

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.

Child protection services data disaggregated for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
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