Child protection orders
What are care and protection orders?
If a young person has been the subject of a child protection substantiation (See Child abuse report), there may be a need for further intervention. The relevant department generally attempts to protect the young person through the provision of appropriate support services to the child and family. The department may apply to the relevant court to place the child on a care and protection order. Care and protection orders are legal orders or arrangements that give child protection departments some responsibility for a child’s welfare. Applying to the Court for a care and protection order is usually a last resort – for example where the families are unable to provide safe care, where other avenues for resolution of the situation have been exhausted, or where the extended family is unable to provide safe alternatives for care of young people. The level of departmental involvement that a care and protection order mandates will vary depending on the type of order (For more information, see Child Protection Australia 2013–14).
Do rates vary across population groups?
At 30 June 2014, in the AIHW Child Protection Data Collection, the national rate of young people aged 12–17 on a care and protection order was 8.8 per 1,000 young people, with no difference between boys and girls. Young people aged 12–14 were more likely to be on a care and protection order (9.5 per 1,000 young people) compared with young people aged 15–17 (8.1 per 1,000 young people).
Indigenous young people were over 7 times as likely as Other Australian young people to be the subject of care and protection orders (49 per 1,000 Indigenous young people compared with 6.5 per 1,000 Other Australians).
Has there been a change over time?
The national rate of young people on care and protection orders increased from 7.4 per 1,000 young people in 2010 to 8.8 per 1,000 in 2014. For Indigenous young people, the rate has increased from 36 per 1,000 in 2010 to 49 per 1,000 in 2014, and increased from 5.8 to 6.5 per 1,000 for Other Australian young people.
What are the living arrangements for young people on care and protection orders?
In 2014, 71% of young people on care and protection orders lived in home-based out-of-home care, while 11.7% lived in residential care, and 7.1% in family care (defined as parents and other relatives/kin who were not reimbursed). Of the young people living in home-based out-of-home care, almost half (49%) were living with relatives/kin (other than parents) who are reimbursed. Around 45% were living in foster care.
In Australia, child protection is the responsibility of state and territory governments. The AIHW collects and reports national data on child protection notifications, investigations, substantiations and other components of the child protection system. While the child protection systems and processes are broadly similar in each jurisdiction, child protection legislation, policies and practices vary. Therefore, caution needs to be taken when comparing child protection data across jurisdictions, or over time.
The Aborginal Child Placement Principle is one of many considerations taken into account when deciding on placements for Indigenous young people. This Principle has the following order of preference for the placement of Indigenous young people: with the child’s extended family, within the child’s Indigenous community then with other Indigenous people (for more information, see Source data tables: NYIF indicators).
'Residential care' is an out-of-home care placement in a residential building with paid staff whose purpose is to provide placements for young people.
'Family group homes' are homes provided by a department or community-sector agency that have live-in, non-salaried carers who are reimbursed and /or subsidised for the provision of care.
‘Home based care’ are placements in the home of a carer who may be for the cost of the care of the young person. There are 3 categories of home-based out-of-home care: relatives/kin who are reimbursed, foster care, and other home-based out-of-home care.
‘Family care’ is where the child is residing with parents (natural or adoptive) or other relatives/kin (other than parents) who are not reimbursed.
‘Relatives/kin who are reimbursed’ are where the caregiver is: a relative (other than parents) or considered to be family or a close friend; who may be reimbursed for expenses incurred in caring for the young person; who is part of an ongoing review process.
'Foster care' is a form of out-of-home care where the caregiver is authorised and may be reimbursed for the care of the young person. Foster carers may be relatives of the young person being cared for and some relative carers may be registered foster carers.
'Other home-based care' includes young people in a home-based out-of-home care placement other than with relatives/kin who are reimbursed or in foster care.
'Independent living' includes private board and lead tenant households.
For further information on different types of living types of living arrangements and their definitions see Source data tables: NYIF indicators.
For data disaggregated by Indigenous status, ‘Other Australians’ includes non-Indigenous young people and young people for whom Indigenous status was unknown. In 2013–14, Indigenous status was unknown for around 0.1% of young people who were subject to child protection orders.
From 2012–13, the Child Protection data collection reports unit record level data, which replaces the aggregate data previously used for national reporting. NSW and Queensland data for 2012–13 and 2013–14 were provided at aggregate level.
For more information on child protection processes and data, see Child protection Australia: 2013–14.
AIHW (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare) 2015. Child protection Australia: 2013–14. Child Welfare series no. 61. Cat. no. CWS 52. Canberra: AIHW.