Children in out-of-home care
Nationally, 55,300 children were in out-of-home care during 2017–18 (approximately 1 in 100 children aged 0–17).
At 30 June 2018, just over 45,800 children were in out-of-home care in Australia. Of these children, 51% were in relative/kinship care, 39% were in foster care, and 6% were in residential care (Figure 10).
Long-term out-of-home care
Over two-thirds of the 45,800 children in out-of-home care had been in long-term care, that is, for 2 or more years. Of these 31,800 children, 11% lived with a third-party carer who had long-term legal responsibility for them, and for 73%, the state or territory had long-term legal responsibility.
Data on the disability status of children in out-of-home care were available for 6 jurisdictions in 2017–18 (representing 74% of children in out-of-home care at 30 June 2018). These data showed that overall, 14% of children in out-of-home care at 30 June 2018 were reported as having a disability.
Over half (54%) of the children in out-of-home care at 30 June 2018 lived in Major cities and two-fifths (42%) lived in Inner and Outer regional areas. Children living in Remote or Very remote areas were twice as likely as those in Major cities to be in out-of-home care.
Indigenous children living in Major cities were 17 times as likely as non-Indigenous children to be in out-of-home at 30 June, while Indigenous children living in Remote and Very remote areas were 9 times as likely to be in out-of-home care (see Figure 11).
Figure 11: Children in out-of-home care by remoteness of living arrangement, and Indigenous status, 30 June 2018 (rate)
Note: Rate calculations for this analysis include Tasmania.
Source: Child protection Australia 2017–18 Figure 5.3, Table S42b.
Children admitted to, and discharged from out-of-home care
During 2017–18, 11,200 children were admitted to out-of-home care. The rates of admission were higher for younger children and fell as age increased—7.2 per 1,000 for infants (children aged less than 1), and 1.4 per 1,000 for children aged 15–17.
In comparison, rates of discharges from out-of-home care were highest for children aged 15–17 at 3.7 per 1,000. The rates for children discharged from out-of-home care across other age groups were similar, varying from 1.3 per 1,000 for children aged 5–9, to 2.0 per 1,000 for children aged less than 1.
The different age distribution for admissions and discharges reflects children being admitted to out-of-home care at a younger age and remaining there for longer, as well as children leaving out-of-home care once they turn 18.