National Child Protection Data Collection, 2013-14; Quality Statement
Identifying and definitional attributes
|Metadata item type:||Quality Statement|
|Registration status:||AIHW Data Quality Statements, Endorsed 08/05/2015|
|Quality statement summary:|
Summary of key issues
– notifications, investigations and substantiations
– care and protection orders
– out-of-home care
– foster carers
– relative/kinship carers.
Data relating to intensive family support services are also reported in Child protection Australia, but are based on a separate aggregate collection.
In Australia, statutory child protection is the responsibility of state and territory governments. Each state and territory department responsible for child protection provides assistance to vulnerable children who are suspected of being abused, neglected, or otherwise harmed, or whose parents are unable to provide adequate care or protection.
A number of government and non-government organisations share a common duty of care towards the protection of children and young people. Departments responsible for child protection investigate, process and oversee the handling of child protection cases. Assistance is provided to children and their families through the provision of, or referral to, a wide range of services.
The data for this collection are collected from each of the 8 state and territory departments responsible for child protection, and the AIHW collates and analyses these data. The CP NMDS was implemented in 2012–13. The data are extracted from the administrative systems of the state and territory departments according to definitions and technical specifications to which those departments and the AIHW have agreed. This data collection represents the only national source of child protection data.
The collection is a part of the child welfare series of reporting. Ongoing funding of this series is specified in the Memorandum of Understanding between the AIHW and state and territory departments responsible for children and families services and the associated 3-year Schedule (2014–2016) for national child protection work. Work is overseen by informal working groups, including the Children and Families Data Network.
The AIHW is a major national agency set up by the Australian Government under the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare Act 1987 to provide reliable, regular and relevant information and statistics on Australia’s health and welfare. It is an independent statutory authority established in 1987, governed by a management board and accountable to the Australian Parliament through the Health and Ageing portfolio.
The AIHW aims to improve the health and wellbeing of Australians through better health and welfare information and statistics. It collects and reports information on a wide range of topics and issues, ranging from health and welfare expenditure, hospitals, disease and injury and mental health to ageing, homelessness, disability and child protection.
The Institute also plays a role in developing and maintaining national metadata standards. This work contributes to improving the quality and consistency of national health and welfare statistics. The Institute works closely with governments and non-government organisations to achieve greater adherence to those standards in administrative data collections to promote national consistency and comparability of data and reporting.
One of the main functions of the AIHW is to work with the states and territories to improve the quality of administrative data and, where possible, to compile national data sets based on data from each jurisdiction, to analyse the data sets and disseminate information and statistics.
The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare Act 1987, in conjunction with the compliance provisions of the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth), ensures that the data collections managed by the AIHW are kept securely and under the strictest conditions to preserve privacy and confidentiality.For further information, see the AIHW website www.aihw.gov.au.
The reference period for the 2013–14 Child Protection Collection is from 1 July 2013 to 30 June 2014. Data relating to child protection investigations includes investigation outcomes recorded up until 31 August 2014, to maximise the currency of these data items.
The state and territory departments responsible for child protection provide data to the AIHW annually, after the end of each financial year. For the 2013–14 collection, the first iteration of data was due to the AIHW by 31 October 2014, and data were finalised for all states and territories in December 2014. Data from the 2013–14 Child Protection Collection were published in May 2015.
The data for each collection period are released in the AIHW’s Child protection Australia annual publication.
Publications containing national child protection data, including the annual Child protection Australia reports, are available on the AIHW website www.aihw.gov.au/child-protection/. These reports are available free of charge. Concurrent with the annual publication, key findings are also presented online.
Requests for unpublished data can be made by contacting the AIHW. See http://www.aihw.gov.au/data/. A cost-recovery charge may apply to requests that take substantial resources to compile. Depending on the nature of the request, requests for access to unpublished data may require approval from the state and territory data custodians and/or the AIHW Ethics Committee.
General inquiries about AIHW publications can be made to the Digital and Media Communications Unit on (02) 6244 1032 or via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Supporting information on relevant mandatory reporting requirements, legislation, jurisdictional policy and data systems are presented in the Appendixes D–I (online) of the Child protection Australia reports. Supporting information is also provided in the footnotes accompanying tables and the report Glossary. Chapter 1 of the report provides an overview of the child protection process and data collection. Readers are advised to consider all supporting and contextual information to ensure appropriate interpretation of analyses that the AIHW presents.
Metadata for the Child Protection Collection is currently being updated for entry on to METeOR, the AIHW’s online metadata repository.
The Child Protection Collection is the authoritative source of national Australian child protection data.
The collection includes several modules on notifications, investigations and substantiations; care and protection orders; out-of-home care, foster and relative/kinship carers; and intensive family support services. Where available, these collections provide information on children within each system and the child protection cases, placements and households relating to children.
The overlaps between the 3 primary modules (notifications, investigations and substantiations; care and protection orders; and out-of-home care) have also been analysed at the national level. The collection has a range of information about children who come into contact with the child protection system, including their age, sex, Indigenous status and living arrangements. Data are also collected on the main type of substantiated abuse or neglect that has occurred: physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse or neglect and the co-occurrence of these types of abuse or neglect.
The collection also includes numbers of admissions to, and discharges from, care and protection orders and out-of-home care; and information on households providing foster and relative/kinship care placements.
In addition to providing information on the current collection period, the collection also enables some trends to be examined, providing a valuable source of data for monitoring various components of the child protection system. Overall, these data give a detailed view of statutory child protection in Australia.
Data sourced from national child protection collections are used for reporting under the National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children 2009–2020 and in the annual Report on Government Services (RoGS) for most jurisdictions.
Data for the child protection collections are extracted each year from the administrative systems of the state and territory departments responsible for child protection in Australia, according to definitions and technical specifications agreed to by the departments and the AIHW. Data represent a ‘snapshot’ of the data at the time of extraction and may not include retrospective updates made to data held by state/territory departments. As such, national data included in this report may not match state/territory data.
Some data included in this report may not match data reported in the RoGS due to retrospective updates to state/territory data and differences in the data extraction and analysis methodologies.
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 only included 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 subjects 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, were reported for the first time in 2012–13.
Each year a number of children are the subjects of more than 1 notification and/or substantiation during the year. The proportion of children who were the subject of more than 1 substantiation in the year was reported for the first time in 2012–13.
Ongoing work is being undertaken on the CP NMDS to broaden the scope of the national data collection and to improve comparability of data across jurisdictions.
Overall, the quality and coverage of the child protection data collection are good. However, data availability affects the interpretability of some data presented.
National child protection data has been provided to the AIHW since 1993 under the agreement between the Australian Government, the states and territories and the AIHW concerning the provision of data on welfare services. In 1993, separate reports were published on child abuse and neglect (Child abuse and neglect Australia 1990–91) and care and protection orders (Children under care and protection orders Australia 1990–91).
Child protection Australia 1996–97 contained consolidated information on several child protection modules (notifications, investigations, substantiations; care and protection orders; and out-of-home care) for the first time. Child protection Australia has subsequently been released as an annual report in that format. Limited data on intensive family support services were included for the first time in Child protection Australia 2003–04. Data on foster carer households were included for the first time in Child protection Australia 2009–10 and relative/kinship carer data were included for the first time in Child protection Australia 2010–11. New analyses included for the first time in Child protection Australia 2012–13 related to:
The ability to replicate and expand on existing national reporting was the primary focus of the new unit record level collection following the implementation of the CP NMDS in 2012–13. Existing national technical specifications were retained and clarified as part of this process.
It is standard practice to present 5-year trends in data, as changes in state and territory legislation, policy/practice and information management systems reduce the ability to accurately compare data over longer periods. Changes that have an impact on the data are provided as caveats to the data and in relevant appendixes to Child protection Australia reports.
Notifications, investigations and substantiations data for non-Indigenous children before 2009–10 included children of unknown Indigenous status. Following improvements to the data collection methodology in 2009–10, these children are able to separately identified and excluded from the non-Indigenous count. Therefore, there is a break in the time series for children in substantiations by Indigenous status between 2008–09 and 2009–10.
The revised methodology used by the ABS to obtain estimates of the resident population for Indigenous and non-Indigenous children in 2013–14 resulted in an increase in estimates of the number of Indigenous Australians based on the 2011 Census compared with those based on the 2006 Census (see ABS 2013a). This means that rates calculated with the 2011 Indigenous population estimates are lower than those based on the 2006 Census. To maintain consistency in the denominator and allow comparisons over time, all rates for the period 2009–10 to 2013–14 have been calculated using the 2011 Census-based population estimates, including back-cast historical estimates. Therefore, rates presented in this report are not comparable to rates calculated using estimates based on the 2006 Census, including those published in previous editions of Child protection Australia.
|Implementation start date:||01/07/2013|
Source and reference attributes
|Submitting organisation:||Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW)|