In Australia, state and territory governments are responsible for statutory child protection. Each responsible department assists vulnerable children who have been, or are at risk of being, abused, neglected or otherwise harmed, or whose parents are unable to provide adequate care and protection.

In 2020–21, about 178,800 children aged less than 18 years received child protection services. These include investigations (which may or may not lead to substantiated cases of child abuse or neglect), care and protection orders and/or out-of-home care placements. This equates to a rate of 32 per 1,000 children.

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Latest findings

Those who exited OOHC aged 17 and 18 were more likely to receive income support

56% in the OOHC study population received income support—3 times the Australian population, nearly 4 times at age 30

74% of Indigenous children aged 0–17 in care have a cultural support plan

58% of children aged 10–17 under youth justice supervision had received child protection services in the last 5 years

Between 2016–17 and 2020–21, the rate of children subject to substantiations remained stable at 9 per 1,000

At 30 June 2021, 91% of children in out-of-home care were in home-based placements, the most common placement since 2017

More reports and statistics on child protection can be found under Adoptions and Children & youth.