Purpose of the report

This report was produced in response to a recommendation by the National Child Protection and Support Services (NCPASS) Data Group to provide a detailed description of performance indicators in the areas of child protection and out-of-home care. The report endeavours to aid interpretation of the national performance indicator data for the years 1999–00 to 2004–05 presented in the Report on government services (SCRGSP 2005, 2006).

Content of the report

The report describes the history of child protection and out-of-home care performance indicators as well as the current performance indicator framework used in Australia, where service performance is assessed in terms of effectiveness and efficiency (Chapter 2).

Efficiency and effectiveness indicators are reported annually by the Steering Committee for the Review of Government Service Provision in the Report on government services. The data used to populate these indicators come from a variety of sources. The Productivity Commission, in its role as Secretariat for the Review of Government Service Provision, collects some data directly from the states and territories while other data are supplied via the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

Eight effectiveness indicators are discussed in this report (Chapter 3). An overview of how each state and territory is performing in regard to these indicators is provided in Chapter 4. However, not all jurisdictions measure each of the established indicators, and those that do, do not necessarily measure them in the same manner. Given this lack of comparability across jurisdictions, each state and territory is discussed independently. There are numerous variables which might affect the effectiveness of service provision including policy, legislation, funding and resources. Measurement of effectiveness will be affected by method of data collection. Some of these factors will be discussed to help explain data trends within jurisdictions. The report concludes with a discussion of future directions for the performance indicator framework in the area of child protection and out-of-home care in Australia (Chapter 5). Detailed tables are included in Appendix 1 and target population data are included in Appendix 2.