Productivity Commission report shows nearly 15,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and nearly 28,000 non-Indigenous children were in out-of-home care in 2013-14
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are more than nine times as likely to be placed in out of home care than non-Indigenous children, a new report into government services has found.
The Productivity Commission report into government services found that Indigenous children had a higher rate of engagement with child protection services across nearly all indicators and jurisdictions.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families were 3.5 times more likely to have allegations of harm or abuse brought against them, and 4.5 times as likely to be the subject of formal investigation by state and territory child protection services.
Cases in which an investigation concluded there was reasonable cause to believe harm or abuse was taking place were 6.8 times more likely with Indigenous children than non-Indigenous children.
Indigenous children were nearly nine times more likely to have court-legislated care and protection orders out on their behalf, and more than nine times as likely to be placed in out-of-home care than their non-Indigenous counterparts.
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In the 2013-14 financial year, nearly 15,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and nearly 28,000 non-Indigenous children were in out-of-home care. The rate of children in out-of-home care was 51.4 per 1,000 for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and 5.6 per 1,000 for non-Indigenous children.
Child protection services attempt to keep Indigenous children with relatives or kin when placing them in out-of-home care, and the commission’s report showed that authorities achieved this in nearly 53% of cases.
A further 14.8% of children were placed with other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander carers or culturally appropriate residential centres.
The report noted “protective factors” such as connection to land, family and culture that could safeguard vulnerable children when they remained in their communities.
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