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First published Wednesday 10 July 2019.

The researchers reviewed child protection data from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) from 2012-2016 along with linked data from Western Australian government departments. The resulting study, published in the journal Child Abuse & Neglect, found:

The number of Aboriginal children in out-of-home care increased 21 per cent from 2012 to 2017, while the number of Aboriginal infants – those under the age of one year – in out-of-home care increased 17 per cent between 2013 and 2016.

Nationally, 56.6 per 1,000 Aboriginal children were in out-of-home care in 2016, compared to 46.6 per 1,000 in 2012. By contrast, 5.8 per 1,000 non-Aboriginal children were in out-of-home care in 2016, up only slightly from the 2012 rate of 5.4 per 1,000. 

Similarly, the number of Aboriginal infants in care rose from 24.8 to 29.1 per 1,000 between 2013-14 – when the AIHW began collating data about children in out-of-home care under the age of one year – and 2016. Over the same period, the rates for non-Aboriginal infants rose from 2.6 to 3 per 1,000.