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New Government report reveals worsening statistics for Indigenous children

The Productivity Commission has released the first part of the 2018 Report on Government Services, focused on Community Services including child protection.

The data shows that the over representation of Indigenous children in the child protection system continues to worsen.

The Report reveals that overall numbers of children with a care and protection order, and in the out-of-home care system, have been steadily increasing for almost a decade.

Within that increase, Indigenous children are significantly over-represented.

Care and protection notifications

For all children in Australia, 4.3% of children were the subject of a notification to a State or Territory care and protection department. This was an improvement on the last report, where 4.7% of children had a notification made about them.

But the Report shows that the situation for Indigenous children is not improving.

The rate of Indigenous children rose from 155.8 to 161.7 per 1000.

That is 3.8 times the rate of non-Indigenous children.

Care and protection orders

The number of children in care and protection in Australia are increasing. In June 2016, 9.6 out of every 1000 had a C&P order in June 2016. By June 2017 it was 10 in every 1000.

For Indigenous children over the same time, it increased from 6.2% to 6.5%.

In Australia today, Indigenous children are 6.5 times more likely than non-Indigenous children to be subject to a care and protection order.

Children in out-of-home care

The numbers of children in Australia in out-of-home care are also on the rise.

But again, the situation is significantly worse for Indigenous children. In June 2016, 5.7% of Indigenous children were in out-of-home care – this increased to 5.9% in June 2017.

In Australia today, Indigenous children are 6.7 times more likely than non-Indigenous children to be in out-of-home care.

From 2008 to 2017

But the real story of Indigenous over-representation can only be told by looking back nearly 10 years, to 2008.

The rate of Indigenous children with care and protection orders has more than doubled, from 3.2% to 6.5%.

The rate of Indigenous children in out-of-home care has almost doubled, from 3.3% to 5.9%.

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