Across Australia, 11,700 infants (children aged under one) received child protection services in 2020–21. Infants were also most likely (40 per 1,000 children) to have received child protection services, while those aged 15–17 were least likely (26 per 1,000) (Figure 2.4).
These findings highlight that younger children are considered the most vulnerable, and as a result, most jurisdictions have specific policies and procedures in place to protect them. There has also been an increased national focus on early intervention and on providing services early in a child’s life to improve long-term outcomes and reduce the negative impacts of trauma and harm (Families Australia 2020; Commonwealth of Australia 2021).
Figure 2.4: Children receiving child protection services, by age group, 2020–21 (rate)
- Unborn children might be covered under child protection legislation, so are included in the ‘Total’ rate. However, they are excluded from rate calculation for the ‘less than one’ age category.
- Age is calculated as at the start of the financial year (that is, July 2020) if the first contact began before the start of the financial year. Otherwise, age is calculated as at the date of the first contact during the reporting period.
- ‘Total’ includes children of unknown age.
- See Technical notes for the method used to calculate rates.
Source: Supplementary data table S2.3, AIHW Child Protection Collection 2020–21.