This chapter presents information about the use of community services by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients in the areas of child care, child protection, adoptions, juvenile justice, disability services and aged care. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people are over-represented in both the child protection and juvenile justice systems. Only 3% of disability service users were Indigenous, even though their rates of disability are almost twice the rate of non-Indigenous Australians (see Chapter 5). Indigenous people were more likely to utilise both disability and aged care services at younger ages, reflecting their poorer health status and lower life expectancy.
Community services are provided by Australian, state, territory and local government agencies, as well as by non-government not-for-profit and for-profit organisations. Most of the data in this chapter come from national data collections compiled by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) from the administrative databases of community service providers. While these data provide useful information, there are some limitations on data quality. The Indigenous status of clients is not always disclosed by the clients or recorded by the service provider. In addition, in some cases where Indigenous status is recorded, inconsistencies in recording methods result in data that are not comparable between jurisdictions.