An annual report released by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare has revealed that 1 in 32 children (174,700) received child protection services in 2019-2020.
There was also more than 486 thousand reports of abuse and neglect made to child protection authorities.
Of those, 48,886 were substantiated, an increase of 1,370 from the previous financial year. (2018-2019 AIHW)
“Sadly, thousands of Australian children are still experiencing abuse and neglect every year in Australia,” Doctor Katrina Lines, Act for Kids Chief Executive Officer explained.
Disturbingly, one in six Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children receive child protection services, which is 8 times higher than the rate of non-Indigenous children.
“Act for Kids strongly believes that the number of Indigenous children in the child protection system needs to be urgently addressed.
“The disproportionate representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander kids and young people in all statutory systems such as child protection, youth justice and corrections attests to the underlying social issues impacting on Indigenous Australians as a result of colonisation including poverty, disadvantage and structural racism,” Dr Lines said.
The report also revealed there has been a 7 per cent increase in children placed into out-of-home care services over the past three years.
“Act for Kids has experienced a significant increase in demand for our services in the wake of COVID-19 lockdowns in 2020, which has been sustained in 2021.”
Despite a slight increase in the number of children who were in out-of-home care services, 5,300 children were successfully reunified with family in 2019-2020.
“Act for Kids is proud to provide six specialist out-of-home care services in remote communities in Queensland, which aim to keep children in contact with extended family, go to school and have their developmental and care needs met until they can be reunified,” Dr Lines said.
In 2019-2020 Act for Kids supported more than 29,000 children throughout its nation-wide centres.
Act for Kids relies on the community’s support to continue helping keep kids safe, heal from trauma and lead happy lives.
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