AIHW Child Protection National Minimum Data Set (CP NMDS), 2017–18

First Year: 2012–13

Latest Year: 2017–18

Frequency: Yearly

Years in this publication: 2017–18

Size: During 2017–18, 159,000 (28.7 per 1,000) Australian children received child protection services (investigation, care and protection order and/or were in out-of-home care).

Methodology: Administrative dataset

Geography: National


The CP NMDS contains information on the demographics of children and young people who receive child protection services, including:

  • notifications received by child protection departments
  • care and protection orders
  • out-of-home care placements.

Data for this collection are from the administrative systems of each of the eight state and territory departments responsible for child protection (with aggregate data provided by NSW).

Scope and coverage

National child protection data are based only on those cases reported to departments responsible for child protection and therefore are likely to understate the true prevalence of child abuse and neglect across Australia. Further, notifications made to other organisations, such as the police or non-government welfare agencies, are included only if they were also referred to departments responsible for child protection.

As children may receive a combination of child protection services there are important links and overlaps between the notifications, investigations and substantiations; care and protection orders; and out-of-home care data modules. For example, children who are the subject of substantiations may be placed on care and protection orders, and many children on care and protection orders are also in out-of-home care. The overall number of children receiving child protection services—along with the overlaps between the separate data modules—have been reported since 2012–13.

Each year, a number of children are the subject of more than one notification and/or substantiation during the year. The proportion of children who were the subject of more than one substantiation in the year have also been reported since 2012–13.

Ongoing work is being undertaken on the CP NMDS to broaden the scope of the national data collection, and to improve quality and comparability of data across jurisdictions.

The CP NMDS collection was implemented in 2012–13, prior to that a national aggregate child protection data collection was used for national child protection reporting (data for this collection began in 1990–91).

FDSV definitions

For the purposes of this publication, all children receiving child protection services are in scope, regardless of abuse or neglect type.

For more information, please visit the Child Protection National Minimum Dataset, 2017–18 Data Quality Statement.