C hild protection Australia 2012-13 is the seventeenth annual comprehensive report on child protection. This report represents a significant milestone in national child protection reporting, as it is the first time that unit-record level data have been available for analysis and reporting. This has allowed the inclusion in the report, for the first time, of a number of previously unavailable analyses-specifically, unique counts of children receiving child protection services in each jurisdiction; the number of substantiations per child; co-occurring types of abuse and neglect; socioeconomic status; and 'average day' measures. As in previous years, the report also includes detailed statistical information on state and territory child protection and support services, and some of the characteristics of the children receiving these services. Key findings are outlined below.

135,000 children receiving child protection services

  • In 2012-13 there were 135,000 children, a rate of 26.1 per 1,000 children, receiving child protection services (investigation, care and protection order and/or in out-of-home care).
  • More than half (56%) of these children were subject only to an investigation (that is, they were not subsequently placed on an order or in out-of-home care) and 8% were involved in all 3 components of the system.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children continue to be over-represented

  • In 2012-13, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children were 8 times as likely as non-Indigenous children to be receiving child protection services (150.9 per 1,000 children compared with 18.5 for non-Indigenous children).

Increasing numbers of children in substantiations, on care and protection orders and in out-of-home care

  • Between 2010-11 and 2012-13 there was a 29% increase in the number of children who were the subjects of substantiations, rising from 31,527 in 2010-11 to 40,571 in 2012-13, reversing the previous downward trend between 2008-09 and 2010-11.
  • From 30 June 2009 to 30 June 2013, the rate of children aged 0-17 on orders increased from 7.0 to 8.2 per 1,000.
  • The rate of Australian children in out-of-home care at 30 June increased between 2009 and 2013-from 6.7 to 7.8 per 1,000.

Characteristics of children who were the subjects of substantiations

  • Most children (42%) who were the subjects of substantiations were from the areas of lowest socioeconomic status.
  • One in 5 children were the subjects of more than 1 substantiation in 2012-13.

Emotional abuse and neglect the most common types of abuse/neglect

  • Emotional abuse and neglect were the most common primary types of substantiated abuse and neglect. They were also the most likely types of co-occurring abuse or neglect, with an average co-occurrence of around 27% each.

Over 23,000 households are authorised to provide foster or relative/kinship care

  • On an average day in 2012-13, there were 23,354 households approved/authorised to provide funded out-of-home care placements. Most of these households were approved/authorised to provide foster or relative/kinship care.