Protection system

One in seven Indigenous children in Queensland have been reported to the child protection system

“I choose to watch this because six out of seven ATSI children are thriving and safe in their families.”

Data showed that the number of ATSI children in out-of-home care in Queensland increased by 7.6% over the [two-year] period.

Placements of ATSI children in institutions increased by 21.7% between 2019-2020 and 2020-21.

“ATSI children remain in care for longer periods, with the number of children remaining in care between two and five years old increasing by 14.5% between 2019-2020 and 2020-21, and the number in care for more than five years increasing by nearly 5%,” Lewis said.

“In 2020-21, 15.6% of all ATSI children in Queensland had a recorded report about them.”


Sixty-three percent of those reports made to the state child welfare system regarding ATSI children in 2020-21 were deemed by the department to be unfounded.

“The volume of these repeated notifications may prevent ATSI families from staying together as there may be an unacceptable risk of future harm,” Lewis said.

“So the next time there’s a problem at the department, whether founded or not, that child or that family will have an established case.”

Lewis said that although there was a slight improvement in the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children reunited with their parents in 2020-21 compared to the previous year, the number remained low, with only 172 children reunited with their parents out of 4882 ATSI children. placed in out-of-home care in the state.

The next step in the QFCC analysis will be to disaggregate future data by region to identify approaches that are likely to work and to use positive numbers to indicate how child protection services in other parts of the Queensland could reshape their interaction with children and families.